Australia and Canada: Shared Energy Security Interests in Southeast Asia
By Hugo Seymour from Perth USAsia Centre | 27 Nov 2017
Professor Gordon Houlden, Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta and retired career Canadian Foreign Service official, visited the Perth USAsia Centre and Deloitte for a private discussion on Canadian and Australia perspectives on energy and maritime security in Southeast Asia.
- The South China Sea is well understood by geopolitical strategists as a site of intense economic and security competition. It is a significant transit zone for energy resources and home to proven and unproven oil and gas reserves. The November release of the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2017 predicts global energy demand will increase by 30% to 2050, which will further concentrate energy competition in the South China Sea.
- Australia and Canada have shared interests in an effective rules-based order with open lines of communication in the Indo-Pacific, which enables both trading nations to advance the security and prosperity interests of their people.
- Australians typically view this region through a security lens and as part of a south-north energy export route. The outlook from a North American perspective is different. Both the US and Canada aspire to export significant volumes of LNG to East Asian markets and have their own geopolitical priorities.
- China will continue to be an energy importer over the next decades. Professor Houlden states in his post-event interview that some of the factors hindering domestic Chinese LNG and other enegy production are "...they don't have enough water, their landscape is heavily occupied, populated, which makes it difficult to operate; they've had to import the technology. I see no alternative but ongoing imports of virtually every energy source, including uranium, for the foreseeable future."
- Professor Houlden joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1976. Abroad he has been posted to Havana, Hong Kong, Warsaw, Beijing and Taipei. His last assignment before joining the University of Alberta in 2008 was as Director General of the East Asian Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Hugo Seymour is a Research and Program Assistant at the Perth USAsia Centre
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