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Energy Situation in ASEAN: An Overview

I wrote this report last year, so some data are not updated. But I hope this could be a good thing to read to know how the energy situation in ASEAN.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam then joined on 8 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.[1]

The ASEAN region’s total land area covers 4,435,830 square kilometers. It has a total population of 583,518 thousand in 2008. Total GDP was 1,505,648 million USD and Gross domestic product per capita at current prices on average is 2,580 USD during the same period. The region’s economy has experienced with GDP growing at an annual rate of 4.4 percent in 2008 but in 2009, ASEAN figure is estimated using country growth rates and country share of world GDP valuated in PPP$ from the IMF WEO Database October 2009, the GDP growing was only 1.3 percent.[2]

Since energy is a vital factor in driving economic growth, higher energy consumption can be expected in the coming decades in this part of the world. The Tokyo-based Institute of Energy Economic, Japan projects that the primary energy requirements in the ASEAN will grow at an annual rate of 4.0 percent from 474 MTOE in 2005 to 1252 MTOE in 2030. How to best meet this demand poses a range of policy challenges for the region’s governments not only at the individual but also at the regional level (Symon 2004).

Energy Resources

Energy resources in ASEAN member states as a whole are rich in various number and forms ranging from the oil reserved, natural gas, and coal to the large potential in renewable energy; particularly wind, hydro, and geothermal but unevenly distributed. For instance, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei export crude oil, but the others have to import oil products and/or crude oil. Renewables such as hydroelectricity and solar energy while abundant are seriously underdeveloped due to a lack of technology and funding. Indonesia is the biggest country for traditional energy reserved having oil deposit approximately at 10 BBL, natural gas 169.5 TCF, and coal 38,000 MMT. Indonesia has also enormous resources of geothermal potential. In term of hydro potential, Lao PDR is largest for hydro power account for 26,500 MW and is believed to be “The Battery for ASEAN” due to can supply the hydro-electricity to some neighbor countries. However, some country like Brunei and Singapore has limited energy resources but for the economic performance both of them are advance ahead of the rest members.

Figure 1 – ASEAN Energy Resources[3]

Primary Energy Supply

Energy supply covers the production and transformation most fuels. This includes primary fuels such as coal, oil, gas and peat, and transformation of those fuels through petroleum refining and electricity generation. It also includes nuclear power, hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, including waste, tidal energy, waves and ocean thermal gradients used for electrical power generation, and geothermal energy used for electrical power and heating.

The total primary energy supply in the ASEAN was recorded increase 4.3 percent per annum on average from 251 MTOE in 1990 to 474 MTOE in 2005. Indonesia has the largest share, amounting to 41 percent of the total primary energy requirement in 1990 but decreasing to 38 percent in 2005. This decreased share of Indonesia’s primary energy supply is due to the rapid increase of the requirement of Singapore and Thailand that grew at similar average annual rates of 5.6 percent and Malaysia at 5.4 percent.

The rapid growth in the consumption of the industrial sector and the construction of coal-fired power plants makes coal supply grew as the fastest during the same period at 10.6 percent per annum due. Gas supply grew at a slower rate of 7.0 percent per annum which is largely due to the coming-on-stream of natural gas power plants in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

U.S. Energy Information Administration recorded, with abundant resources and progressive exploration, total primary energy production of ASEAN reached 20.472 Quadrillion Btu in 2007, increased 52.2 percent from 1997 as illustrated on Table 1.

Table 1 – Total Primary Energy Production 1997 – 2007 (Quadrillion Btu)[4]

Final Energy Consumption

The total of ASEAN final energy consumption increased at an average annual growth rate of 4.2 percent from 1990 to reached 343 MTOE in year 2005.

In 1990, on a sectoral basis, the transport sector contributed around 19.5 percent of the total ASEAN demand while the industry and the other sectors contributed 22.4 percent and 53.8 percent respectively. From then to 2005, the transport and industrial demand had been growing rapidly at average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent and 6.2 percent per year, respectively. The rapid growth of these sectors resulted in an increase of their shares in the total ASEAN demand to 25.8 percent and 30.4 percent respectively in 2005. The consumption of the other sectors, which comprise of commercial, residential and agricultural sub-sectors, grew the slowest at 2.3 percent per annum, reducing its share in the total demand to 40.6 percent from 53.8 percent in 1990.[5]

The latest record from U.S. Energy Information Administration, as shown in Table 2, the total primary energy consumption in ASEAN in 2007 was reached 16.637 Quadrillion Btu, with Indonesia and Thailand consumed 52.6 percent of it.

Table 2 – Total Primary Energy Consumption 1997 – 2007 (Quadrillion Btu)[6]

Energy Outlook

ACE and IEEJ has conducted the ASEAN Energy Outlook 2030 with two projection scenarios in the modeling work as follows: (i) Reference Scenario / Base Case Scenario; assumed that the future growth trends would follow the historical development paths, and (ii) High Scenarios / High Case Scenario; assumed that the growth rates of GDP were taken from the official targets of each of the 10 ASEAN member states, which incidentally are higher then the growth rates in the Reference scenario.

Base on sectoral, under the Reference scenario, the total final energy consumption of the ASEAN is projected to grow at a slower annual rate of 3.9 percent from 2005 to 2030. The transport sector consumption will grow as the fastest during the period with annual growth projected at 5.1 percent driven by the increasing per capita income, the industrial sector consumption will grow at 4.6 percent and other sectors which include residential, commercial and agricultural sectors will have an average annual growth of 2.4 percent. Non-energy consumption will grow at an average rate of 2.9 percent per annum.

In the High scenario, final energy consumption will grow at a faster annual rate of 4.9 percent driven by the transportation sector which will grow by 6.2 percent per annum. Those of the industrial and other sectors will have annual growth rates of 5.7 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

Figure 2 – Final Energy Consumption and Projection in ASEAN by Sector[7]

Among the types of energy, under Reference scenario, electricity will grow the fastest, at 6.1 percent per annum in view of the projected growth in industrial GDP. Coal will growth at rate of 5.9 percent per annum, Natural gas will be growing at rate of 5.0 percent per annum. Oil will remain as the most used fuel and is projected to grow at 4.5 percent per annum over the forecast period. Consumption of other fuels, which are mostly biomass, will increase at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent resulting to a decreased share to the total consumption from 31.7 percent in 2005 to 12.5 percent in 2030.

But in High scenario final consumption of electricity will however post the highest growth rate at 7.2 percent. Consumption of coal will grow at 7.2 percent annually. Consumption of biomass which is largely used in the residential sector in rural areas is projected to grow at a very slow rate of 0.1 percent per annum, because fuel using is switching to more convenient fuels such as LPG for cooking as per capita income increases.

Figure 3 – Final Energy Consumption and Projection in ASEAN by Fuel Type[8]

Energy Challenge

Without despite the fact, Oil production in ASEAN is far from insignificant; ASEAN is not entirely free from the impact of the rising oil prices. Some of its member countries are particularly vulnerable to disturbances in energy supply since they are highly dependent on oil imports (Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines are the most oil dependent ASEAN economies). The threat is further magnified by the fact that ASEAN is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, which requires increasing energy supplies to fuel its rapid pace of economic expansion.

Base on the prediction by ACE and IEEJ that published in The 2nd ASEAN Energy Demand Outlook (March 2009), oil consumption in the region will increase to around triple from `94 MTOE in 2005 to 520 MTOE by 2030 in the Reference scenario and possibly by 639 MTOE in the High scenario. Being a net oil importer since the year 2005, as illustrated in Figure 4, with crude oil production stagnating to current levels, ASEAN should concerted effort in energy efficiency and alternative fuel research as well as more extensive oil exploration activities to reduce dependence on imported oil and reduce the risk to energy security to the region.

Figure 4 – Oil in ASEAN Final Energy Consumption and Oil Production

Although the region is still a net exporter of natural gas, its consumption of the fuel will increase from 91 MTOE in 2005 to 240 MTOE in 2030 in the Reference scenario and possibly to 307 MTOE in the High scenario. If current production levels in the region do not increase, the region will have to source out this additional demand from outside the region.

Parallel with that, coal consumption will also significantly increase and brings another big problem. The projected 6.9 percent annual escalation of coal consumption which is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, base on the Reference scenario, 4.0 percent annual growth in primary energy consumption in the Reference scenario will result to a corresponding 5.1 percent growth in CO2 emission. The similar 4.0 percent annual growth rates in oil and natural gas consumption will also contribute to this increasing emission. In the High scenario, CO2 emission will have a faster annual growth rate of 6.2 percent. This is due to the projected 8.3 percent, 5.0 percent and 4.9 percent annual growth in coal, natural gas and oil consumption, respectively.

Figure 5 – CO2 Emission in the Reference and High Scenarios, in Mt-C



[2] Selected basic ASEAN indicators as of 15 April 2010,

[3] Compilation data by Author (ACE)


[5] The 2nd ASEAN Energy Demand Outlook, ACE and IEEJ, March 2009


[7] The 2nd ASEAN Energy Demand Outlook, ACE and IEEJ, March 2009

[8] The 2nd ASEAN Energy Demand Outlook, ACE and IEEJ, March 2009

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