Energy policy makers from APEC Member Economies are meeting in Hanoi this week to develop solutions to meet the region's growing energy needs.
The 29th Meeting of the APEC Energy Working Group (EWG) will cover areas including the implementation of the APEC Energy Security Initiative, ongoing research to develop alternative fuels and ways for the EWG to contribute to planning to deal with major regional emergencies or natural disasters similar to the Indian Ocean Tsunami.
The outcomes of this meeting from March 14 to 18 will contribute to the Senior Official Meetings leading up to the APEC Leaders' and Ministers' Meetings in November.
Ms Vicki Brown said on behalf of the EWG Lead Shepherd that the 29th meeting of the EWG will receive a report on the implementation of the APEC Energy Security Initiative.
"The full implementation of the APEC Energy Security Initiative is of vital importance for ensuring the energy needs of our region are not disrupted by human actions or natural disasters," Ms Brown said.
"The ongoing threat of terrorist activities, increasing demand for energy and the current high price of oil are all significant factors for regional economic development.
"The Energy Security Initiative comprises of both short and long term measures to respond energy supply disruptions and develop policy responses to address the broader challenges facing the region's energy supplies. The Energy Security Initiative requires economies to develop individual emergency preparedness plans, share information on their current reserves and keep other economies informed in the case of an emergency."
Ms Brown said the EWG is undertaking joint efforts with the Industrial Science and Technology Working Group (ISTWG) as part of efforts to assess the feasibility of alternative future fuel sources.
"The EWG meeting in Hanoi will receive submissions to better assess future alternative fuel technologies and the impact these would have on the energy market," Ms. Brown said.
"The EWG and ISTWG are looking at the feasibility of developing a technology road map that outlines multiple scenarios for plausible energy and fuel development in the APEC region. The EWG had earlier invited a representative from the ISTWG to the previous EWG meeting and sent an EWG representative to an ISTWG workshop."
The meeting will also consider ways for the EWG to contribute to APEC's overall emergency preparedness strategy that was endorsed by Senior Officials at their meeting in Seoul in early March. The APEC Virtual Task Force for Emergency Preparedness is being reactivated to unify resources and skills in the APEC community to deal with future disasters that have the potential to strike the region.
The EWG was established in 1990 to develop collaborative solutions to maximize the energy sector's contribution to regional economic and social wellbeing. This includes addressing the potential environmental effects of energy production together with the increasing requirements of energy consumers around the region. It is estimated that this demand for energy in the APEC region is expected to grow at an average 2.1% annually for the next 20 years. This growing demand is expected to increase energy import dependency in the APEC region to around 80% in 2020 from 60% today.