Date: 9-10 Dec 2010
Venue: Park Royal Hotel (on Beach Road), Singapore
|Credit: Aleksandar Rodic|
Much literature on energy security in East Asia has focused on the dynamics of competition over resources, and how conflicts could arise from this. While this analytical perspective identifies potential risks and is conducive to the proposing of pre-emptive solutions to likely problems, it also risks precluding necessary attention to the possibilities for cooperation between states in the region. While the themes of competition and conflict will continue to be relevant in discussions on East Asian states and societies, it ought to be a useful exercise to review case studies of how countries in East Asia have managed to overcome their respective vulnerabilities and thus meet their energy needs. Such knowledge can in turn contribute to the exploration of cooperation-based solutions for addressing energy security in the region.
The RSIS Centre for NTS Studies organised a Regional Workshop on 9–10 December 2010 in Singapore to examine East Asian energy cooperation and collaboration against the backdrop of conventional research projects that highlight geopolitical uncertainties and tensions as a central focus of inquiry. The Regional Workshop marked the second phase of a project on the theme ‘Dealing with Energy Vulnerabilities: Case Studies of Cooperation and Collaboration in East Asia’. This phase provided commissioned writers from an Energy Study Group Inception Meeting in June 2010 with the opportunity to present their research findings.
Papers presented during the Regional Workshop sought to fill the research and knowledge gaps attributed to the general tendency to relate energy security to power politics while undervaluing the extent of interdependence in the chain of energy and energy-product trade among nation-states in East Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific. It is hoped that the findings can stimulate debates on energy policymaking and institutionalisation in the region. A key assumption underpinning this project is that shortages in and uncertainties over energy supplies – that is, energy vulnerabilities – constitute a normative part for the countries under examination. Themes covered by the project include: (1) stock-taking of trade in fossil fuels among East Asian states; (2) the ‘Asian premium’ phenomenon; (3) developmental institutions and energy in East Asia; and (4) energy vulnerabilities unique to East Asian societies.
Comments and discussions from the Regional Workshop have been taken into consideration by commissioned writers as they finalise their research papers for inclusion in an edited book volume that will be published by the first quarter of 2013.
Click here for the workshop programme.
A report on the workshop proceedings is now available online.