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Hydrocarbons to remain part of future Asean energy mix

Hydrocarbons will remain important in Asean says Malaysia's PM REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain
Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim says net-zero must not be achieved at the expense of economic growth

Hydrocarbons will continue to be an important part of the energy mix in states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday, as affordability and energy security remain key concerns for the region of more than half a billion people.

Achieving net-zero emissions targets should not come “at the expense of economic growth or vice versa”, Anwar said in opening the inaugural Energy Asia conference, hosted by Malaysia’s state oil firm Petronas.

“Instead, Asia must take every opportunity to further dialogue and actions around how we can responsibly plan to enable every country (in) its right to development and lower carbon aspirations,” he said.

Asia is home to some of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and countries have made varying commitments to phasing out fossil fuels and accelerating energy transition, while also demanding adequate financial support from developed emitters.

Anwar said natural gas would play an important role in the energy mix for Malaysia, which is among the world’s top five exporters of liquefied natural gas exporters.

In the second half of the year, the government will launch two roadmaps detailing the country’s potential for developing hydrogen fuel and carbon capture and storage technology.

Scientists say that while developing new technologies is key, cutting emissions is still crucial to keeping the world from warming more than 1.5C (34.7F) over the pre-industrial era.

Malaysia is also committed to joining a global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, versus 2020 levels, he added.

Leaders from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) and CEOs from Saudi Aramco, TotalEnergies and Vitol are attending the conference in Kuala Lumpur.

The event brings together global energy leaders, companies and policymakers to discuss the region’s energy transition.