Opening Remarks by 2M Tan See Leng at Singapore-IEA Ministerial Roundtable on Energy Security in a Low-Carbon World

Opening Remarks by 2M Tan See Leng at Singapore-IEA Ministerial Roundtable on Energy Security in a Low-Carbon World

Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency,


Distinguished participants,

1. A very warm welcome to the Singapore-IEA Ministerial Roundtable on Energy Security in a Low-Carbon World at the 15th Singapore International Energy Week.

a. We are delighted to convene this Ministerial Roundtable in-person and we hope to deepen our engagement after such a long absence.

2. The global energy crisis has highlighted the critical importance of energy security and the need for a calibrated approach to the global energy transition.

a. The world has been facing an energy crunch since the winter of 2021, and the conflict in Ukraine has further exacerbated the risk of supply disruption in gas and oil.

b. While energy security and access to energy remains crucial and critical, we must not lose sight of the need for the clean energy transition.

i. Investments in clean energy and enhancements to infrastructure to support the deployment of renewables and new energy technologies must continue to mitigate the impact of climate change for our future generations.

ii. Geopolitical and technological developments will also influence the trajectory of the power sector in many countries. Including Singapore. It is important to stay adaptable to such developments and consider multiple pathways to achieve our low-carbon transition.

3. Energy trade can help to accelerate the development of renewable energy projects and low-carbon solutions, promote economic growth and diversify energy supplies.

a. It is important to develop trade in clean energy, to enable the flow of financing to countries with significant renewable potential, while allowing the global economy to decarbonise more quickly by enhancing access to renewables.

b. Energy trade can be in the form of electricity and new low-carbon carriers such as hydrogen and ammonia, as a shift and expansion from the thriving trade flows of fossilised fuels today.

c. In the near term, before new low-carbon solutions are ready for large-scale deployment, regional power grids and cross-border electricity trading offer the best approach for energy trade while allowing various countries to provide mutual support for their power grids.

i. The successful and steady flow of electrons from Lao PDR, through Thailand and Malaysia, to Singapore today demonstrates the economic and technical feasibility of cross-border electricity trade, and will serve as the pathfinder towards the realisation of the ASEAN Power Grid.

ii. Singapore will continue to build on this and work with our regional partners to increase the scale of such projects. To facilitate this, Singapore recently signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on energy cooperation with Lao PDR and Viet Nam. The MOUs signal our commitment to collaborate on the development of regional power grids and cross-border grid interconnections, which will pave the way for greater cross-border electricity trade. Singapore is also looking forward to working with partners such as the US and Australia to enhance energy connectivity in the region.

d. In the longer term, hydrogen, ammonia and other energy carriers, offer much potential for transporting renewable energy from around the world. Our companies and institutions will need to work across borders, so that we can accelerate breakthroughs in such technologies.

4. However, even as we accelerate the adoption of renewables and low-carbon solutions, we must continue to manage trade-offs and continue to balance the need for energy security, price competitiveness and environmental sustainability.

a. What the ongoing economic and energy crisis has shown is that it is critical to ensure continuity and certainty of natural gas supply to serve the world’s needs. A pragmatic energy transition is crucial in global energy security and resilience.

b. We should remain open to the use of cleaner fossil fuels such as natural gas and ensure sufficient investments in gas supply chains.

5. International cooperation is a cornerstone in advancing energy security in the journey towards a low carbon world, given the growing interdependence between energy consumers and energy producers. International organisations such as the International Energy Agency play an extremely important role in shaping our understanding of the dynamism in global energy markets and analysis in seizing our opportunities in the clean energy transition.

6. I am delighted that the IEA has expanded significantly to accelerate energy transitions in major and emerging economies, including setting up an Association program which Singapore has joined. IEA has also been a close partner to ASEAN and has contributed extensively to various topics like regional interconnectivity, gas, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

7. With our shared common interests, Singapore and the IEA are in discussion to explore the possibility of setting up an IEA Regional Cooperation Centre in Singapore. The Centre will further expand the IEA’s outreach to the Asia-Pacific region.

a. As the region accelerates low-carbon energy transitions, the IEA’s expertise in decarbonisation pathways and financing will be very valuable and relevant.

b. We welcome IEA family to join us in Singapore and look forward to the IEA’s leadership to guide the region’s sustainable energy transition efforts to meet their climate goals.

c. We hope to deepen our partnership with IEA and do our part to support IEA in this role.

8. The Singapore International Energy Week and the Ministerial Roundtable today are important avenues for us to discuss regional energy opportunities and challenges. I look forward to hearing your perspectives on the measures to address our ongoing energy crisis, the efforts which you are pressing ahead to achieve a cleaner energy future.

9. I wish everyone a fruitful discussion ahead. Thank you.

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