A ministerial energy meeting of Asia's major oil producing and consuming countries began in Seoul on Thursday, with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil Mustafa Al-Shimali expected to deliver a speech in the second session.
At the one-day gathering co-hosted by South Korea and Qatar, ministers and high-ranking officials in charge of energy resources from 21 countries and three international organizations are gathering.
Energy demand and supply outlooks in Asia, strategic petroleum reserve in Asia and its impact on the global oil market, and enhanced cooperation in the Asian oil trade market are among top issues for the Fifth Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Meeting.
The energy leaders are also expected to focus on gas pricing mechanism and renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region, as well as the ways to promote technological cooperation and joint research and exchange of skilled professionals.
The long-standing producer-consumer relationship between the Middle East and Asia Pacific economies remains strong.
The talks will also cover investments on both the supply and demand sides. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), between 2011 and 2035, the world's energy supply infrastructure will require a cumulative investment of around USD 38 trillion, with oil and gas accounting for USD 20 trillion fuelled in part by a rising need for upstream investment and higher costs. Investments through 2035 in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are estimated to be USD 12.3 trillion and USD 2.2 trillion respectively, together representing almost 40 percent of expected global investment.
At the outset of the meeting, South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick stressed the importance of building sustainable cooperation between energy producers and consumers in the Asian continent. He also pointed out energy challenges in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General Abdalla El-Badri said the organization remains committed to making sure our customers receive secure and regular oil supplies to meet their demand needs. "Global oil demand will expand more than 50 percent by 2035, close to 109 million barrels per day, with Asia seeing the largest increase. In terms of energy, many Asian countries will need external resources to meet their rising domestic demand," he said, adding that Asian oil demand will increase mainly from the Middle East. He added, the OPEC welcomes diversity and expanded energy mix as it augments global supply and is further proof the world is not running out of oil. "US tight oil developments are freeing up some global supplies, with many finding their ways to Asia," El-Badri said.
Participants in the gathering also include representatives from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Turkey, Brunei, Indonesia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven and International Energy Forum Secretary General Aldo Flores-Quiroga also taking part in the biennial meeting.
Kuwait's delegation includes Charge d'affaires at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Seoul Abdulrahman Al-Shehab and Assistant Undersecretary for Economic Affairs at the Kuwaiti Oil Ministry Nawal Al-Fezei, as well as a high-level officials from the Oil Ministry and state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. The Asian energy ministerial meeting was last held in April 2011 in Kuwait. The first round of talks was launched in January 2005 in New Delhi after India proposed the gathering.