1. NE Asia Energy Cooperation
The East West Center (Dr. Kyung-Sool Kim, “GEOPOLITICS AND ENERGY COOPERATION IN NORTHEAST ASIA: PERSPECTIVES FROM THE UA AND NORTHEAST ASIA,” February 6-7, 2006) released this presentation from a meeting of the 2006 Working Group on Energy Cooperation in Northeast Asia organized by the Northeast Asia Economic Forum (NEAEF). The presentation, by Dr. Kyung-Sool Kim, Research Fellow for Center for Energy Research (CERNA) at KEEI summarizes the inter-country differences in approaches to North East Asian regional energy cooperation. Kim writes,” although there is growing consensus that an intergovernmental institution is essential for regional energy projects, there is still reluctance among some policy makers in Northeast Asia to commit fully to a cooperative approach with potential competitors for limited energy resources. There is a tradition of bilateral arrangements in this region, and concern that a multilateral approach could act as a constraint on the energy policy options and national interest of individual countries.”
2. East Siberian-NE Asia Gas Pipeline
The East West Center (Eric Nam, “EAST SIBERIAN PIPELINE GAS TO NE ASIAN MARKETS,” BP Korea, February 6-7, 2006) released this presentation from a meeting of the 2006 Working Group on Energy Cooperation in Northeast Asia organized by the Northeast Asia Economic Forum (NEAEF). The presentation, by Eric Nam, Vice President of BP Korea, discusses the market for natural gas in an energy security context. While the author highlights the need for supply diversity in this time of rapidly increasing demand in NE Asia, this presentation focuses on Russian gas supply and points to the need for fast decision making from both Russia and import countries. Nam concludes that “both East Siberia and Sakhalin must be developed simultaneously to bring maximum benefit to Russia and NE Asia.” Further, Nam suggests that efficient development of connectivity infrastructure is imperative to energy security and the formation of an NE Asia Cooperation Organization would help to resolve political issues among countries.
3. Australia Emissions Trading Forum
The Australasian Emissions Trading Forum (AETF) released the February/March 06 edition of its bi-monthly publication, the AETF Review covering international and domestic (Australia & NZ) emissions trading developments and research. The contents of this edition include an article highlighting a review of the global carbon market activity in 2005 and outlook for 2006?” The publication also includes an article outlining the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects and a discussion of current challenges facing New Zealand following a revision of its emissions inventory.
4. PRC-Japan Relations
The Japan Times (Yumi Wijers-Hasegawa, “TIME FOR JAPAN TO SHUT UP AND DRILL: ENERGY EXPERT,” April 11, 2006) reported that a month has passed since Japan and PRC last held talks over the development of gas fields in a disputed area of the East China Sea, and both sides appear keen on keeping the issue out of the headlines for now. But Koichi Iwama, a professor of energy economics at Wako University, said the chances for constructive talks with Beijing are remote; he believes PRC is further complicating the issue by bringing up contentious bilateral issues such as sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands.
5. Nuclear Trade and Technology
South China Morning Post (Peter Krammerer, “NUCLEAR VISIONS,” April 5, 2006) reported that two of the world’s nuclear taboos have been broken in the past month: PRC has struck a deal with Australia to buy uranium to fuel its mushrooming reactor programme and the US has signed a pact with India to share technology. While the agreements with the nuclear weapons nations are aimed at quenching a thirst for energy, some fear they have also made the world less safe.
6. Japan Nuclear Safety
The Japan Times (“NUCLEAR SAFETY CALLED INTO QUESTION,” April 7, 2006) reported that a court ruling issued in late March concerning a power reactor in Ishikawa Prefecture has proved both rare and astounding. Saying that there is a problem with the earthquake-resistance design of the reactor, the court ordered a halt to the operation of the nuclear-power station – the first ruling ordering such a halt from among 30 lawsuits filed by citizens concerned about the safety of nuclear-power stations. As the power company involved has appealed the ruling, the reactor continues to operate.
7. ROK in International Nuclear Regulators Association
Financial Times Information (“S KOREA JOINS INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR REGULATORS CLUB,” April 7, 2006) reported that ROK has been admitted to the International Nuclear Regulators Association (IRNA) that will allow the country to have greater influence global atomic energy policy decisions, the government said Thursday. “The decision is a reflection that South Korea is a global leader in terms of commercial nuclear energy use and safety,” said an official. He added that becoming a member will improve the country’s stature in this field and permit it to make greater contributions to international atomic energy policies.
8. USakhalin LNG Contracts
Prime-Tass Business News Agency (“RUSSIA’S SAKHALIN ENERGY BOARD APPROVES LNG SALE CONTRACTS,” April 6, 2006) reported that the supervisory board of Sakhalin Energy, the operator of the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project near Russia’s Sakhalin Island, has approved contracts to sell to the Asia-Pacific region and North America 98% of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be produced in the project area, Russia’s Industry and Energy Ministry said Thursday. LNG and oil exports from the Sakhalin-2 area are expected to start in 2008.
9. Russian Oil Shortfall
Agence France Presse (“RUSSIAN OIL SHORTFALL PREDICTED,” April 11, 2006) reported that Russia will fail to meet forecasts for oil supplies over the next four years, likely fueling fears that have pushed oil prices to record highs this week, an expert said in remarks published Wednesday. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would have to make up for the Russian shortfalll, Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told the Financial Times.
10. Russian Oil Refining
The Russian Oil and Gas Report (“RUSSIAN FUEL AND ENERGY SECTOR EXHAUSTED THE GROWTH RESOURCES,” April 5, 2006) reported that [Russian] Minister of Industry and Energy Victor Khristenko announced, “In 2005, oil refining depth amounted to 71.3%. This was 23% less than in the US and in Western Europe.” Lagging behind the West has a simple explanation: 20 of the 27 Russian refineries have been working for 40-50 years. The major part of refineries in Russia is concentrated in the Volga region and West Urals region, which is far both from the centers of petroleum products consumption and from the oil export flows.
11. Clean Burning Coal for Hydrogen Economy
US State Department Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc. (“ENERGY DEPARTMENT EXAMINES HYDROGEN-PRODUCTION BENEFITS OF COAL; CLEAN-BURNING COAL MAY LEAD WAY TO HYDROGEN ECONOMY,” April 5, 2006) reported that Washington ‘ Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sandia National Laboratories in California are studying the burning characteristics of coal to prepare the way for a hydrogen economy. There are many long-term options for providing hydrogen as a fuel of the future, but coal is the leading contender to provide a hydrogen source in the near term.
12. Japan for Sustainability
Japan for Sustainability is a non-profit platform for environmental communication with the aim of sharing Japan’s latest developments to accelerate the movement towards sustainable society. Japan for Sustainability provides information in English via a website and monthly newsletter covering new technologies, traditional wisdom, and public and business sector activities for sustainability.
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