Asia Needs Alternative Energy Sources

Asian countries must look to alternative energy if there is any major disruption to crude oil suppliers from the Middle East, according to industry observers.

HONG KONG, HK, 2001-10-02 [] The Asia-Pacific region consumes 20 million barrels of oil each day and, of the 13 million barrels imported, three quarters comes from the Middle East. While Japan and Singapore depend on imported oil, both have built up large stocks as protection against disruption in supply. China and India, the world’s two largest countries, do not have emergency strategic reserves. Observers say that any immediate disruption as a result of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States, would force Asian countries to develop plans to reduce consumption and, where possible, switch to alternatives. At this stage, alternatives would involve coal or natural gas. Singapore has six months of stockpiled oil product, while Japan holds 87 days supply of crude oil, although it also requires the private sector to hold stocks for an additional 80 days demand. China imports 30 percent of consumption and has only one month supply, while India demands that state refineries hold only two weeks of crude oil supplies. Other countries which are vulnerable include Thailand, which is trying to double its strategic oil stocks, the Philippines with two months supply, and Taiwan with less than three months. Some countries have banned the export of oil products in order to build up stocks.