Asia > Asia Energy Profile

Asia: Asia Energy Profile

2012/08/13

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Asia Energy Profile

Fossil fuels are Asia's most important mineral products. Southwestern Asia, especially the area around the Persian Gulf, produces about one-fourth of the world's yearly output of petroleum, nearly all of it for export. Malaysia and Indonesia are also important exporters of petroleum. In many cases, natural gas is produced along with petroleum. Large amounts of oil and gas also come from fields in Kazakhstan, Siberia, and eastern China.

Asia's major coal fields are in the Kuznetsk Basin, in Russia; the Karaganda, in Kazakhstan; the northeastern part of China; and the northeastern area of India. Iron ore is found in significant quantities in northern Kazakhstan; near the major Chinese and Indian coal-producing areas; and in west-central India. Large reserves of both coal and iron ore in eastern Siberia are increasingly being exploited.

Asia is the primary source of much of the world's tin and graphite. Gold, nickel, and platinum and related metals are found in Siberia and precious gems—rubies and sapphires—in Sri Lanka and Burma. Among the many other minerals produced are tungsten, lead, manganese, copper, and bauxite, as well as phosphates and numerous other nonmetallic minerals.

Asia exports most of its raw mined materials to industrialized nations on other continents. China exports large amounts of antimony and tungsten. Manganese and mica from China and India and chromite mined in Turkey(part of Europe) and the Philippines are exported to many parts of the world.

Natural resources are critical to many economies in the Asia/Pacific region. China, despite being a net importer of hydrocarbons, is the world’s fifth largest oil producer. In Timor-Leste, oil accounts for almost 90 % of government revenues and 70 percent of its GDP. In Malaysia, 44 % of government revenues come from oil exports; for Indonesia, the figure is nearly 30%. Transparency in the management of oil, gas and minerals is essential to ensure that their profits are effectively used for development in this region.

The majority of countries in this region provide only partial information about their management of the oil and gas sector, as well as about their income from oil and gas extraction. The region has therefore substantial room for improvement. For instance, Timor-Leste is the only country from the region that discloses contracts in full to the public; Malaysia and Papua New Guinea are the only ones that publish environmental and social impact reports. This lack of transparency is reflected in their institutional setting, since no parliament in the region has authority to examine or ratify contracts. Despite a formal commitment by several of these governments to disclose payments and revenue from oil, gas and mining activities, critical public information remains incomplete.

Countries in this region disclose information about their income from extractive activities, although with significant gaps. In particular, state-owned companies provide scant information. The state-owned companies of Indonesia and Malaysia do not publish audited reports about their operations.

In contrast, Chinese companies that are partially listed on international stock exchanges publish reports about their operations.

Countries in the region should support the EITI and begin to implement it. This would highlight the commitment of governments to transparency and accountability, while allowing different stakeholders, in particular civil society organizations, to participate in discussions crucial to the development of resource-rich countries.

Governments in the region should also improve reporting practices across all the different areas of natural resource governance, and make comprehensive, periodical and timely disclosure of information a departure point to improve accountability. Transparency is not an end in itself but rather a tool to further accountability and effective management of natural resources.