New Gas Fields in Southeast Asia Threaten 1.5° Celsius Target

Despite the scientific consensus that no new oil and gas exploration can take place while keeping global temperature increases below 1.5° Celsius, at least 19 new gas fields across Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Brunei were sanctioned or are expected to be sanctioned by 2025, according to a new report from Global Energy Monitor.

The report includes data from the Global Oil and Gas Extraction Tracker detailing at least 19 new fields with estimated reserves of over 540 billion cubic meters of gas – more than the proven reserves in all of the European Union – that reached or are expected to reach final investment decisions between 2022 and 2025. Over 75% of these in-development fields are located in Malaysia and Vietnam.

The International Energy Agency has said that “Beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development in [its 1.5° Celsius] pathway.”

The IEA already expects oil and gas production in Southeast Asia to be about 145 bcm per year higher by the middle of the century than what would be expected in its ‘Sustainable Development’ Scenario.

With the development of these new fields, the region would only widen the gap between its current trajectory and a development pathway compatible with keeping temperature increases below 1.5° Celsius.

Scott Zimmerman, project manager for the Global Oil and Gas Extraction Tracker, said, “Energy demand is increasing across Southeast Asia as economies grow, but ramping up gas production is not a long-term solution. Meeting demand via cost-effective, renewable sources insulates the region from volatile gas prices and is a greener path forward.”