Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2011

Asia's Energy Future: Regional Dynamics and Global Implications

Kang Wu, Fereidun Fesharaki

June 2011

East-West Center


Energy security ranks as one of the highest-priority issues in Asia and the Pacific. The East and South Asia region is the fastest-growing oil consumer in the world, and because this region has such a small percentage of the world’s oil reserves, it is the most highly dependent on oil imports of any world region. In the future, Asia will become even more dependent on imports as its energy needs expand with changing life styles and overall economic growth. Asia’s increasing energy needs have important implications for energy security throughout the world, and particularly in the United States. Like Asia, the United States is a large and growing importer of crude oil and petroleum products. It is also becoming a direct competitor with the East Asian economies for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). This volume is intended to provide Asians and Americans with the factual information they need for clear understanding, informed policy dialogue, and effective cooperation on issues related to energy security. The United States and Asia have much in common in terms of their basic energy situation. Both regions have enormous hydrocarbon reserves in the form of coal, but both must import huge quantities of liquid hydrocarbons in the forms of oil and natural gas. The United States has an economy and a life style highly dependent upon imported energy, and increasingly, so does Asia. The environmental implications of energy use are of growing concern in both regions. Both share a common stake in an assured supply of oil and natural gas, in price stability in international energy markets, in efficient and sustainable use of oil and gas products, and in the development of technologies and fuel alternatives that can alleviate energy security and environmental concerns.