Asia will dominate over half of the world's energy supply by 2035, with possible double oil consumption if business continues as usual, though limited indigenous resources present challenges to the region.
A new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report stated Asia will need a massive increase in energy supply this century, mainly from fossil fuels, if the region is to continue to grow and lift millions more out of poverty.
Given the lack of alternative energy, this new supply is likely to spell environmental disaster, said the report, part of ADB's Asian Development Outlook 2013.
"Asia could be consuming more than half of the world's energy supply by 2035, compared to 34% in 2010," said ADB's senior country economist Luxmon Attapich, adding that Asia will account for 44% of the world's GDP this year, compared to 28% in 2010.
If business continues as usual, oil imports will triple by 2035 because the region does not have enough resources and mainly relies on the Middle East for its energy supply, said Ms Luxmon.
Without changes to its energy mix, coal use will increase by 81%, oil consumption will double and natural gas use will more than triple, she said.
"We need to look at alternatives such as solar, wind, hydro and biofuels. Integrating power transmission within the Greater Mekong Subregion will help, but political and regulatory barriers must be reduced," she added.
ADB's country director, Craig Steffensen, said energy security in Thailand and Asean has become a greater concern as demand has topped forecasts and nuclear energy remains politically unpalatable following Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis.
"In Thailand, questions about energy security have become more prominent this year partly because of platform repairs in the Yadana gas field in Myanmar, causing local supply shortages," said Mr Steffensen.
In a related development, PTT Plc said repairs of the Yadana platform are halfway done. The 10-day maintenance through April 14 has disrupted 1.1 billion cubic feet per day of Myanmar's natural gas supply to Thailand.
About the author
- Writer: Nareerat Wiriyapong
Position: Business Reporter