A Pan-Asian Gas Pipeline network may prove more efficient over the long-term than the liquid natural gas infrastructure now planned for the region.
Nearly $200 billion of LNG infrastructure is now targeted for Asia. The bulk is aimed at transporting Australian gas to Northeast Asia.
This infrastructure would shift roughly 60 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Australia to China, Japan and South Korea. But a similar capacity Pan-Asian Gas Pipeline might be built for $125-200 billion, depending on whether the Pan-Asian Gas Pipeline goes by land or by sea.
Grenatec’s research finds that an Pan-Asian Gas Pipeline ‘bundled’ with high-capacity HVDC power lines and fiber optic cables may be Asia’s most ‘future proof’ long-term choice.
The benefits of a Pan-Asian Gas Pipeline integrated into a Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure would include enhancing regional economic growth, reducing regional infrastructure expenditure, increasing energy trade, reducing geopolitical tension, lowering geenhouse gas emissions and improving energy market price signals.
These efficiencies could be created through building a flexible, interconnected energy and data system stretching from Australia to South Korea.
In the past 20 years, the Internet has transformed the global economy by providng a multi-route, multi-purpose, open network for data. It’s now the energy industry’s turn for a similar efficiency revolution.
The good news is that preliminary ‘bits and pieces’ of a Pan Asian Gas Pipeline and Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure are now taking shape.
These include the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline, the proposed Malaysia-South Korea pipeline, TheYacheng 13-Hong Kong pipeline, the Timor Sea Bayu Undan pipeline and the proposed Browse Basin-Darwin, Australia Ichthys pipeline.
The long-term benefits would be compounded by combining this infrastructure with fiber optic cables and power lines similarly traversing the same routes.
Proposed cross-border regional power line projects include the Trans-ASEAN Electricity Grid. Regional fiber optic cable projects underway in Asia include Indonesia’s Palapa Ring, Australia’s National Broadband Network and others. All of the above traverse the same route a Pan-Asian Gas Pipeline would take.
Over time, a Pan-Asian Gas Pipeline can transport hydrogen, biofuels and even waste carbon. They have a future economic value that isn’t being properly appreciated in the rush to build single-generation LNG.
Asia needs trilliions of dollars of new infrastructure in coming years. The long-term, optimal efficiency of this infrastructure needs to be analysed more fully.