Opening Remarks By Mr Ng Wai Choong, Chief Executive, Energy Market Authority, at The 53rd APEC Energy Working Group Meeting

26 Apr 2017

Distinguished Representatives from APEC member economies

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. A very good morning to all of you. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 53rd APEC Energy Working Group Meeting (EWG) in Singapore. It has been more than 10 years since the APEC EWG last met in Singapore[1], and we are pleased to be able to host these important discussions again.

2. Singapore had the honour of hosting the first APEC EWG meeting in 1990. At that meeting, delegates agreed that there was significant scope for cooperation given the importance of the energy sector to the region’s development. They identified five broad themes[2] for the first work programme, such as energy efficiency and conservation, research and development, as well as energy and the environment. Some of these themes continue to be relevant and discussed at the EWG today.

APEC EWG’s achievements over the years

3. Over the last few decades, the APEC EWG has made great strides in energy cooperation. The EWG has completed over 420 projects on a wide range of energy issues, more than any other APEC Working Group or Committee. These concrete projects have helped keep us on track towards achieving our common aspirational goals.

4. For example, in support of our goal to reduce energy intensity in the APEC region by 45% by 2035, the Peer Review on Energy Efficiency (PREE) and the Cooperative Energy Efficiency Design for Sustainability (CEEDS) initiative have showcased best practices and enhanced capabilities within member economies. The Peer Review on Low Carbon Energy Policies (PRLCE) and the Low Carbon Model Town initiative have also contributed to our collective effort to double the share of renewable energy in APEC’s energy mix by 2030. In addition, the EWG has reached out to relevant energy organisations such  as the International Energy Agency (IEA) to strengthen its energy analysis.

The evolving energy landscape

5. While we continue to work on evergreen issues such as energy efficiency and energy security, it is important to recognise that the global energy landscape is evolving rapidly. Oil prices have fluctuated from as low as US$15 per barrel in 1990 to more than US$130 per barrel in 2008[3]. Today a barrel of oil stands at about US$50. We have also witnessed the technological breakthrough in unconventional shale oil and gas extraction, leading to the shale revolution. On the renewables front, the landmark Paris Agreement inked in 2015 has given new impetus to the transition towards a low carbon future. The declining cost of renewables has also encouraged investments in clean energy.

6. Growing decentralisation, digitalisation and distributed generation are also changing our energy landscape. This is altering the traditional roles of consumers and grid operators, as well as the way we generate, distribute and use energy. An increasingly open system also introduces cybersecurity challenges, and threatens consumer privacy.

New initiatives

7. Against this backdrop, it is important for the APEC EWG to continue to be an open platform where we can exchange ideas and discuss new initiatives. For example, energy resilience is a relatively new concept that was highlighted by our Ministers at the last APEC Energy Ministers Meeting in 2015.

8. Singapore supports this emphasis on resilience. In particular, we believe that there is an urgent need to ensure a continuous pipeline of talent with the requisite capabilities to meet future needs in this rapidly changing energy landscape. Therefore, we have hosted the inaugural APEC Energy Workforce Resilience Workshop yesterday, to exchange views and learn from each other’s best practices.


9. I understand that the EWG has a full agenda ahead over the next two days. Beyond the discussions, I hope you will have some time to soak in the wonderful sights and sounds of Singapore. My colleagues have planned an exciting social programme and dinner on Thursday evening which will showcase the best of Singapore’s culture and culinary delights.

10. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to join us again in Singapore from 23-27 October this year for the 10th edition of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW). This year’s theme is “Rethinking Energy; Navigating Change”, where global energy leaders will gather to discuss how to stay nimble, overcome challenges and seize opportunities in this evolving energy landscape.

11. I wish everyone a fruitful discussion and an enjoyable time in Singapore. Thank you.

[1] The last APEC EWG meeting in Singapore was in May 2006.

[2] The five themes were: (i) energy supply and demand; (ii) energy and environment; (iii) energy conservation and efficiency; (iv) research, development and technology transfer; and (v) resource exploration and development.

[3] Europe Brent Spot Price, EIA website.

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