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Opening Remarks of the Singapore International Energy Week 2015

November 2, 2015

The Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2015 was held from 26 October 2015 to 30 October 2015 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands Singapore, and is organised by Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA). Now in its 8th year, SIEW comprises exhibitions, workshops, and networking sessions. It functions as a crucial arena for energy leaders in governments, academics, industry, and international organisations to come together to discuss global energy issues, share opinions and ideas, as well as form alliances to facilitate closer cooperation.  

The theme for this year is “Global Energy Transitions”.

“The theme reflects how recent volatility in oil prices, growing energy demand in Asia, and increasing market interconnectivity are greatly reshaping the global energy landscape. This has prompted re-assessment of long-term investments in both oil and gas, and alternative energy projects. Governments and industry need to consider how to leverage the opportunities and challenges that these developments present. Against this backdrop, SIEW 2015 will address how best to navigate the emerging energy transitions, and the impact these changes would have on the global energy system.”  

– Singapore International Energy Week 2015 to focus on “Global Energy Transitions” Press Release

The Guest of Honour for the Opening Ceremony was Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry). In his Opening Remarks, Mr Iswaran mentioned that the global energy landscape is ever-changing, using the fall in oil and gas prices as a case in point. He emphasises the need for governments and industry players to reevaluate policies and strategies across various energy scenarios. It is expected that more countries will be turning towards natural gas and renewables, especially with climate change and environmental concerns. Governments need to adapt to changing market trends and public perceptions, while they continue to look for ways to solve their growing energy needs.

Mr. S Iswaran

Singapore’s diverse energy options

In his speech, Mr Iswaran shares with the audience the various strategies Singapore utilises to tackle shifts in the global energy market. Singapore switched from fuel oil to cleaner, more efficient and carbon friendly natural gas. Since 2006, Singapore has introduced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to supplement the piped natural gas supply, giving the country greater energy security and access to competitive LNG supplies. In addition, Singapore has many energy options, such as electricity imports, solar energy and advanced power generation.

These can be achieved through the government providing market information on energy generation and consumption data, projected growth of energy demand, and an indicative mix of generation sources coming from gas plants, solar, and electricity imports by 2030. The Singapore government will also provide access to a land allocation framework for power plants. Furthermore, the EMA plans to establish a Secondary Gas Trading Market (SGTM) in Singapore for buyers and sellers to trade gas on a short-term basis domestically. This would allow gas prices to reflect Singapore’s demand and supply conditions and enhance Singapore’s position as an LNG and gas trading activities hub, and also set the scene for a gas futures market.

The ultimate goal of an electricity retail market open to all users

Mr Iswaran also added that enhancing retail competition is Singapore’s priority, so as to provide consumers with more choices and benefits. This is achieved through the liberalisation of the electricity retail market, so that consumers are able to choose their electricity retailer. Furthermore, the contestability threshold was lowered to allow more consumers to purchase from an electricity retailer that best meets their needs instead of buying their electricity at the regulated tariff from SP Services. The ultimate goal, Mr Iswaran states, is to fully open the electricity retail market to all users, including households, so as to allow them flexibility and choice in electricity consumption.  

Mr Iswaran ended his speech reminding the audience that there is a need to achieve “resilient, sustainable and competitive energy supplies”, drawing upon the point that Singapore continues to “facilitate energy investments, increase options for industry players, promote competition in the electricity market for the benefit of consumers, and develop capabilities and encourage innovation to strengthen our energy industry”. He also emphasised the need to continue to stimulate discussions and form partnerships to respond to the changes in the global energy landscape.

Mr Iswaran’s full speech can be read here.

(This is part I of a two-part post on the opening of Singapore International Energy Week 2015. Read part II here.)

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