The Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) in Tokyo and the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) in Washington DC have hosted an in-person workshop on December 15-16, 2022 in Washington, DC. The workshop, Global LNG, Energy Security, and the Transition, brought together a small group of policymakers, practitioners, and experts from the U.S., Asia, and Europe to chart a path forward to address fundamental challenges of meeting rising global requirements for LNG, new threats to energy security, and measures to cost-effectively address the challenges of the energy transition. The workshop supported the six-year joint effort of IEEJ and EPRINC on the role of LNG in sustaining global energy security and worldwide requirements for new energy supplies.
Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, world energy markets were experiencing sustained shortages and rising prices from years of underinvestment in oil and natural gas production. Today, pricing pressure on LNG continues to rise well above historic trends from rising demand in Europe as the continent searches for alternative sources to replace lost supplies from Russia. Of special concern in the current market environment for Asia is the severe cost constraints in using LNG. The rapidly rising cost of LNG is especially troublesome for the developing world in Asia as sustained high prices will incentivize continued reliance on coal and petroleum liquids. High prices for LNG will undermine initiatives throughout Asia to pursue Net-Zero aspirations.
Securing adequate new supplies of LNG for the world market requires overcoming a series of unique financial, policy, and regulatory challenges. LNG projects require large-scale financial commitments binding sellers and buyers for much as 20 years for projects to reach final investment decision. In many cases, aspirational goals seeking to abandon so-called legacy fuels and leap directly to the renewable fuels and low carbon technologies of the future can be counter-productive and undermine long-term progress to Net-Zero outcomes. The energy transition will be both long and difficult. LNG and natural gas offer numerous opportunities for both the developed and developing world to enhance energy security, accelerate the transition away from coal, and make substantial progress in achieving lower carbon emissions. International financial institutions, public financial institutions and private banks will have to work together to ensure that LNG development can proceed with adequate long-term commitments and sufficient investment to bring substantial volumes of new supplies to the market.
Venue and Discussion Topics
Our excellent venue, the Cosmos Club, permitted extensive opportunities to discuss the broad challenges of energy supply and geopolitical stress points. We identified five subject areas to focus the panel presentations and discussions. These were:
- LNG’s Role in World Energy Supply; Now and in the Future
- Addressing Policy Obstacles and ESG Challenges in Bringing New LNG Supplies to Market
- The Role of Public and Private Financial Institutions in LNG Production
- Asian Energy Security and the Energy Transition – How the Asian Economies Adjust to the New Price Environment and Security Threats
- What Advice Should We Give to the G7 for Next Year
Additionally, EPRINC and the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC cohosted a dinner to facilitate more discussion between participants the evening of December 15.