Assessing LPG and LNG as alternative energy sources for the Pacific

Photo caption: LPG storage tanks in Fiji.

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Thursday 11 September 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji.?There is a growing global trend towards using cleaner and cheaper fuel. The Pacific region has always faced difficulties with this type of change, due to its huge dependence on imported expensive fossil fuels for transportation, power generation, shipping and cooking.

In many countries, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are being used as alternative energy sources? due to the emergence of new gas supply centres, increasing numbers of proven reserves, rapid technological advances, competitive pricing and the environmental friendly nature of these energy sources.

In February 2014, the Management Committee of the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) approved a concept note and budget for the implementation of a research project proposed by the World Bank to consider the potential for expanding LPG use and the possible introduction of natural gas in the form of LNG as alternative energy sources for the Pacific Islands.

The research study was endorsed at the Second Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers? Meeting that was organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and held? in Nadi, Fiji in April. The meeting also highlighted the importance of assessing the potential for increased penetration of LPG and the potential introduction of LNG to reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels and significantly reduce energy costs.

The gas energy research study will be carried out by a partnership of PRIF, the Pacific Power Association, the World Bank and SPC. The objective is to assess the potential and economic feasibility of LPG and LNG in meeting the medium-term energy needs ? basic power generation, maritime and land transport, and cooking ? of Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).

Based in the SPC?s Economic Development Division, the study team will engage with PICTs and stakeholders for the purpose of collecting data.

The research study will be undertaken over a period of six months and will involve American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Other interested countries and stakeholders are encouraged to provide their comments and contribute towards this study.

A data collection template for the study is currently being developed and, in the coming weeks, this will be sent to various stakeholders and member countries for submission of their data.