Jakarta, IO – The integration of natural gas pipeline networks throughout a region plays a strategic role in achieving its economic resilience and ensuring the sustainability of energy supply. In regard to Indonesia, it is highly crucial to distribute natural gas, which is mostly produced in the eastern part of the country, across western Indonesia, so it can be utilized by consumers who reside populous Java / Sumatra.
In a regional context, the integration of a natural gas pipeline network also extends across borders to neighboring countries. One example is the networks in the European Union. This integration has provided economic benefits and ensures energy supply throughout the bloc. With the integration of a natural gas pipeline network, Russia’s sizable gas production can be accessed by other countries in the region. Similar interconnections have been implemented in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean); for example, the integration of the gas network between Indonesia and Singapore.
Energy is an important factor in a country’s economic development and national resilience, so it must be managed prudently. This includes provisioning, utilization and business operation. It should also be implemented in a sustainable, equitable, optimal and integrated manner, to guarantee its supply as a lifeline of a national economy.
Energy sources in the form of petroleum, natural gas and coal play a significant role, not only economically, but are also of vital interest to national politics and international security.
The increase in world population has resulted in a drastic increase in energy demand, which has exerted an impact on the global climate. Energy sources still dominated by coal and petroleum have become a global environmental issue. Countries around the world have agreed to start switching to using more environmentally-friendly energy sources, to ensure biosphere and humankind survival in the future.
Natural gas is one of the preferred sources of energy. Apart from its lower emission level compared to coal and oil, the economic value is also quite high. Even though the use of renewable energy has started to accelerate, natural gas still constitutes a large portion of the energy mix, especially with the efforts to reduce the consumption of coal and oil.
The broad impact of the energy sector on a country and the world has become a common focus, as it determines a country’s ability to achieve its energy security, a prime factor in foreign policy around the world. This is understandable, considering that the amount of energy reserves and supply is limited, and has become depleted over time, while the rate of demand and consumption continues to increase, along with the increase in population and industrial drive.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines energy security as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price”. Energy security consists of long-term and short-term aspects. The long-term aspect relates to timely investments intended to supply energy in line with economic development and environmental needs, while the short-term aspect focuses on the ability of the energy system to react quickly to sudden changes in the balance of supply and demand.
Based on the IEA definition, energy security can be achieved by crafting the right policies. Current policies will have an impact for years to come, so every policy decision must be considered carefully with the sustainability aspect factored in. One of the policies being formulated by Asean is the integration of a natural gas pipeline network or Trans Asean Gas Pipeline (TAGP). This collaboration is one of the visions of the Asean economic community, one which aims to establish gas distribution networks and supply connections among its member states, to ensure energy security in the region.