Staff writerGINOWAN, Okinawa Pref. — Australia must make the most of its rich natural resources and knowledge of efficient energy infrastructure to help Asia-Pacific economies meet the surging energy demands of the next century, said Warwick Parer, Australian minister for resources and energy.”One of the important things that came out of APEC is that, even though there’s been an Asian financial crisis, growth is still expected to be something like 40 percent over the next 12 years,” Parer told The Japan Times following the energy meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum here Oct. 9 and 10.”We are very keen on energy efficiency and have been pushing that for a long time. Because of our own experience, we can make a major contribution by providing not just raw materials but also technology of mining and other energy infrastructure,” he said, boasting that Australia’s current exports of mining technology amounts to 1 billion Australian dollars a year.Ministers from 18 APEC economies plus three observers, including Russia, took part in the two-day meeting, which was chaired by Japan, to discuss ways for the regional economies to achieve energy efficiency while simultaneously sustaining economic growth and protecting the environment.Predicting that coal will continue to be a major source of energy in the APEC region, Parer underlined efforts his government is making in clean coal technology through such projects as combined cycle coal gasification to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.As a supplier of liquid natural gas, Australia hopes to strengthen its market competitiveness by achieving planned development and expansion of major gas fields across western and northwestern sections of the country, Parer said.Asked if he supports Japan’s stance for stockpiling oil in the APEC region in case of emergency, Parer said, “Each country can make its own decision about what it does for stockpiling.”We believe a better way to go is to have transparent market situations” to encourage private-sector investment in efficient energy infrastructure and trading networks, he said.Parer suggested that Japan and other Asian economies improve energy security by increasing their use of other resources, such as natural gas, to decrease their reliance on oil.
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