Brunei,US in talks for possible joint energy ventures
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI and the United States are looking to strike up a partnership on regional energy ventures, utilising a US$6 billion US-government fund for sustainable energy.
Outgoing US Ambassador Daniel Shields said his government is in talks with the Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EDPMO) to identify specific projects.
“If there is a case where Brunei is interested in pursuing an energy project in another country, if there is a need for US equipment and export of US goods and services to support that project, we could use that financing to help make that possible,” he said in an interview yesterday.
“EDPMO are actively looking around the region, areas where this could move forward and we’re very excited by that. It’s just a matter of finding the right project.”
In 2013, Washington pledged up to US$6 billion to grow sustainable energy in the region under the “US-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future” – an initiative brokered with the help of Brunei and Indonesia, the then-chair countries of ASEAN and APEC respectively.
The fund will sink billions into Asian countries over the next four years to increase their purchasing power for American technology, services and equipment.
“The whole idea there is to expand access to clean, sustainable energy throughout the region… (projects) don’t have to be in Brunei, they could be anywhere in the region… (as long as they) achieve some of the goals on increasing energy sustainability and access,” said Shields.
The envoy said Asia’s growing demand for energy signals enormous potential for investment from the United States. It is estimated that the region will need around US$9 trillion in investments in electricity by 2035.
Shields said projects are not restricted to alternative energy, but could potentially be in the oil and gas sector.
“Energy has always been a focal point in US-Brunei relations and always will be,” he added
Brunei recently embarked on its first international energy venture when state-owned PetroleumBRUNEI was awarded a contract to drill an offshore block in Myanmar waters.
Shields is scheduled to conclude his tenure as US ambassador to Brunei this week, after almost four years in the post.
The Brunei Times