1. Mechanisms for Energy Cooperation in Northeast Asia
The 2006 Working Group on Energy Cooperation in Northeast Asia (Yongduk Pak,” TOWARD INTEGRATED ENERGY COOPERATION MECHANISM IN NORTHEAST ASIA,” February 7, 2006) released this paper by Korea Energy Economics Institute’s Yongduk Pak for the February 5-7, 2006 meeting organized by NEAEF and in cooperation with JCPAEC and KEEI. The paper reviews the current potential and appropriate mechanisms of Northeast Asia energy cooperation in terms of energy markets and the on-going ROK initiative for energy cooperation. The author concludes that, “even there have been strong incentives for bilateral cooperative frameworks among countries because there are certain fears of heightened interdependence (for historical and political reasons)…. without a multilateral framework based on inter-governmental consultation, the result will be tedious and ineffective negotiation to solve the various impediments in regional energy cooperation [resulting from] the lack of an institutional mechanism such as laws and regulations related to energy cooperation.”
2. Australia Emissions Trading Forum
The Australasian Emissions Trading Forum (AETF) released the April/May 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 outlining the main findings of a study from the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change, a group of diverse companies considering the feasibility of greenhouse gas emissions reductions while maintaining economic growth. Also included is an article highlighting recently released regulatory guidelines for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) by the Council of Australian Governments and further discussion of the role of emission markets in CCS projects.
3. Japan Energy Security
The Financial Times (D. Pilling, “JAPAN WARNED OVER ITS ENERGY SECURITY,” May 19, 2006) reported that Japan’s very existence as a state could be compromised if it does not develop a more strategic approach to energy security, according to a report presented to Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister [May 18]. The report from the Japan Forum on International Relations, an independent think-tank, says: “Japan’s overall approach lags behind the changes occurring in the world. The strategic importance of energy has a far greater importance than is appreciated in Japan.”
Asia Pulse (“JAPAN’S OIL POLICY SHOULD FOCUS ON BOOSTING RESERVES: PANEL,” May 19, 2006) reported that the focus of the nation’s oil policy should be shifted away from market-oriented deregulation, with more emphasis placed on encouraging Japanese firms to develop energy resources and on building up national reserves, a government advisory panel recommended Thursday. The report submitted by the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy calls for boosting the portion of energy imports from operations backed by domestic companies to 40 per cent in 2030, up from 15 per cent at present.
4. ROK Energy Security
Xinhau News Agency (“SOUTH KOREA TO EXPAND INDEPENDENT OIL DEVELOPMENT ABROAD,” May 18, 2006) reported that ROK officials said Thursday that the country will sharply expand independent oil development projects abroad over the next 10 years to cope with the high- rising crude prices. According to a plan by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the independent oil development overseas will expand from the current 3.8 percent to 18 percent of the country’s oil consumption by 2015.
5. PRC Alternative Energy
Xinhua News Agency (”CHINA PLANS TO SUBSTITUTE BIO-FUEL FOR 10 MILLION TONS OF REFINED OIL PRODUCTS IN 2020,” May 17, 2006) reported that PRC will be able to substitute bio-liquid fuel for 10 million tons of refined oil products in 2020, said a PRC energy think tank on Tuesday. Han Wenke, deputy director of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said at the ongoing forum on decentralized sustainable energy solutions in PRC, that by 2020 renewable energy will increase PRC’s energy supply capacity by 400 to 500 million tons of coal equivalent. Then renewable energy will account for 10 percent of PRC’s annual energy consumption, he said.
Agence France Presse (“CHINA TO BUILD SIX MORE NUCLEAR REACTORS IN SOUTHEAST,” May 19, 2006) reported that PRC is set to build six nuclear reactors in the southeastern province of Fujian, state media said Friday, in the latest plank of the country’s ambitious nuclear power program. State-run energy provider China National Nuclear Corporation and China Huadian Group, one of PRC’s top five power producers, has signed an agreement to build six reactors of 1,000-megawatt capacity, China Daily reported. The report did not say when the construction will begin or be completed, nor did it give the total investment involved.
Xinhua News Agency (“CHINA IS WORLD’S LEADING INVESTOR IN RENEWABLE ENERGY,” May 17, 2006) reported that PRC has become the top investor in renewable energy in the world, experts said on May 16 at the ongoing forum for decentralized sustainable energy solutions in PRC. Dr. Eric Martinot, a senior research fellow with the U.S.-based Worldwatch Institute and senior visiting scholar of Tsinghua University, said that excluding large hydropower, PRC invested 6 billion U.S. dollars in renewable energy in 2005 out of a global total investment of 38 billion dollars. Soaring oil prices have made renewable energy a focus for world investors, said Martinot.
6. Three Gorges Dam Environmental Impact
Agence France Presse (“THREE GORGES DAM IS ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE: FRIENDS OF THE EARTH,” May 19, 2006) reported that PRC’s Three Gorges dam, which will be officially completed on Saturday, is a social and environmental disaster, the green pressure group Friends of the Earth (FoE) said on Friday. “The dam is having a titanic social and environment impact,” the group said in a press release in Paris. FoE said the dam, which it costed at 25 billion dollars, was 50-percent more expensive than originally estimated and the project was stained by corruption.
7. ROK Renewable Energy
Yonhap News Agency (“S. KOREA SEEKS TO DEVELOP RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES,” May 17, 2006) reported that more ROK companies are considering the development of reusable sources of energy as oil prices are expected to remain high in the coming months, industry sources said Tuesday. ROK is lagging behind advanced countries in terms of reusable energy development and production. As of the end of 2005, ROK generated 5.01 million tons of oil equivalent (TOEs) in reusable energy, accounting for a meager 2.2 percent of total consumption of the existing energy resources.
8. Sino-Japanese Relations
The Japan Times (Yumi Wijers-Hasegawa, “JAPAN, CHINA REMAIN DEADLOCKED OVER HOW TO RESOLVE GAS ROW,” May 19, 2006) reported that Japan and PRC clarified their respective positions but were unable Thursday to agree on how to resolve their dispute over natural gas drilling in the East China Sea, where the two sides disagree over their exclusive economic zone boundaries. During the one-day talks in Tokyo, Japan rejected PRC’s proposal for joint development of two gas fields and PRC refused Japan’s idea to tie up at four other sites, Japanese officials said.
9. Sino-Russian Relations
The Press Trust of India (A. Joseph, “CHINA, RUSSIA AGREE TO BUILD BRIDGE OVER BORDER RIVER,” May 17, 2006) reported that PRC and Russia have agreed to build a bridge over the Argun River, the border between the two countries, and set up a commission on immigration as part of efforts to promote their strategic bilateral ties. The agreements were inked after PRC Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov here yesterday. Both sides also pledged to work together to complete the demarcation of their borders before the end of next year.
10. Russia-US Energy Cooperation
BBC Monitoring (“RUSSIA KEEN TO PENETRATE US ENERGY MARKET – NUCLEAR CHIEF,” May 23,2 006) reported that Russian Federation Federal Atomic Energy Agency head Sergey Kiriyenko is counting on American companies’ support in opening the US market for Russian nuclear fuel, he told journalists in Washington, RIA Novosti news agency reported on 23 May. “The key moment for me is the talks I held in New York on Friday and Saturday [19 and 20 May] with some 20 American energy providers controlling over 50 per cent of energy produced in the USA,” Kiriyenko said.