To date, concerted collective action related to energy has generally been limited to activities where the costs to the individual Governments are either negligible or do not outweigh the short-term benefits. In the meantime, the preference of ASEAN members appears to be for bilateral initiatives, either with other member States or with States outside ASEAN. In order to move forward with energy market integration, ASEAN needs to undertake two separate sets of tasks. The first is to identify which elements of AEMI should be feasible in the current political and economic situation, and then to rank further elements in order of difficulty and importance. The second, and more important, task is to identify what political, economic and institutional changes may be required within ASEAN members, and within the organization of ASEAN itself, in order to allow the more difficult and important elements of energy market integration to be provided. The approach to implementing AEMI is likely to be multi-track – different programmes and speeds for different fuels or types of activity – and involve initiatives by different sub-sets of member States (“2 + X”). Regardless of the approach to be taken to energy market integration, committed and sustained leadership will be required from two or more ASEAN members in order to overcome inertia and maintain momentum.
Philip Andrews-Speed (lead), Principal Fellow, Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Christopher Len, Principal Fellow, Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore