Regional energy demand for Southeast Asia is poised to grow by over 80 percent between now and 2035, equivalent to the current consumption in Japan, the International Energy Association (IEA) revealed in its “Southeast Asia Energy Outlook” released in September. The projected energy demand growth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), when combined with China and India will shift the “center of gravity of the global energy system to Asia,” the Paris-based agency said.
“Asia is the key driver of the global oil demand growth … in the next 20 years, this region’s combined growth is as much as one Japan, very, very, strong growth,” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told a luncheon gathering Oct. 29 in Singapore during the Singapore International Energy Week.
Energy Landscape in Southeast Asia
Decades-long economic growth in Southeast Asia, disrupted by the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, has resulted in high energy demand, which was supported by ongoing urbanization and industrialization. Gross domestic product grew from $788 billion in 1990 to $2.185 trillion in 2011, when ASEAN’s 597 million people consumed 549 million tons of oil equivalent (MMtoe), up from 223 MMtoe in 1990, according to the IEA.
While Southeast Asia has one of the strongest energy demand growth globally, this represented “only one-third of [current consumption in the] Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development … [so there is] huge room for even higher energy demand,” Birol said.
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