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August 8, 2008

Asean Energy Meet:
AMEM+3 to prepare oil stockpiling plan

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The Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) plus 3 (China, Japan, and Korea) has agreed to jointly study how to prepare a regional oil stockpiling plan to prevent shortages and reduce impacts of oil price surges in the future, Thai News Agency quoted to Thai Energy Minister Lt-Gen. Poonpirom Liptapanlop as saying Thursday.

Revealing a result of the 26th AMEM being held in Bangkok, she said Thailand had pushed for a basic connection of energy sources under the Asean framework.

The project involves the international gas pipeline linkage from Indonesia's Natuna gas field to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia, and the power transmission line connection.

Regarding an amendment of the agreement on assistance for oil importing countries in the face of the oil crisis, she said member countries saw a need to alter rules and regulations to ensure they are in compliance with the amended pact.

A signing of the agreement would take place at the Asean Summit to be hosted by Thailand late this year.

She said AMEM plus 3 approved the preparation of the regional oil stockpiling roadmap aimed at encouraging development of energy reserves to prevent a possible shortage and ease impacts of the oil price hike in the future.

It also agreed to conduct the energy demand outlook in Asean based the scenario analysis in 2005-2030.

The minister said Thailand had proposed to promote Southeast Asia as a production and distribution center of bio-fuel including ethanol and bio-diesel.

At the same time, Korea had proposed the safe use of civilian nuclear energy programme under which a group of three including China, Korea, and Japan are ready to give knowledge on rules and regulations, technology, and guideline on the use of nuclear power to interested Asean member countries to boost energy stability in the long run.

Poonpirom said AMEM participants shared in common the view that alternative energy, particularly hydro-electricity and bio-energy -- in which Asean members have great potential for development -- would play a leading role in the future.

With cooperation in alternative energy development, she said Asean members including Thailand would enjoy a sustainable energy stability and could reduce dependence on fossil energy sources.

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