Seven Asian nations may sign accord for $6 billion gas grid in July

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to sign an agreement in July covering the construction of a $6 billion Trans-Asean gas pipeline.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 9 -- Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are expected to sign an agreement in July covering the construction of a $6 billion Trans-Asean gas pipeline.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' news agency reported that an official of Malaysian state-owned company Petronas said ASEAN members would sign the accord when their energy ministers meet on Indonesia's resort island Bali.

The proposed 10,000-km gas grid project would link Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Viet Nam, and Thailand -- 7 of the 10 members of ASEAN. The Asia-Pacific region is said to contain 10.33 trillion cu m of proven gas reserves, or about 7% of the world's total.

ASEAN members have been discussing the project since at least 1996. Some contracts and studies that will contribute to the project have already been finalized, e.g. Petronas's 20-year commitment to buy up to 250 MMscfd of gas from Indonesian state company Pertamina (OGJ Online, Mar. 29, 2001).

The ASEAN Council for Petroleum (ASCOPE) is overseeing the project's development.

At its meeting in Kuala Lumpur in November last year, ASCOPE indicated that the Trans-Asean gas pipeline would be completed by 2005.

About 2,540 km of ASEAN cross-border pipeline is in place between Malaysia and Singapore, Myanmar and Thailand, and Indonesia and Singapore.

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