Brunei: Energy Resources
|Energy Consumption||0.19 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||BN|
|3-letter ISO code||BRN|
|Numeric ISO code||096|
|UN Region||South-Eastern Asia|
|Energy Maps||0 view|
|Energy Organizations||1 view|
|Research Institutions||0 view|
|CIA World Factbook, Appendix D|
|Wind Potential||0||Area(km²) Class 3-7 Wind at 50m||87||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||Unavailable||Million Short Tons||N/A||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||390,800,000,000||Cubic Meters (cu m)||35||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||1,100,000,000||Barrels (bbl)||39||2010||CIA World Factbook|
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Policy and Regulatory Overview 
The electricity networks extend throughout the Sultanate, providing power to almost the entire population. According to figures from the Department of Statistics, the country had electricity coverage of 99.7% in 2008, with 0.3% accounted for by remote communities, most of which have their own generators.The three main grids are operated by two utilities, the governmental Department of Electrical Services, and the Berakas Power Company Private Limited (BPC). BPC supplies around 40% of the total generation in Brunei.BD is launching prepaid cards, ‘powercard’, for electricity usage top-up at homes and business in October 2011. Following the introduction of the prepaid cards, all post-paid electronic meters in private households will be replaced to pre-paid meters free of charge. In addition, the electricity tariff has been reviewed in order to encourage the public to conserve electricity as well as to benefit the lower income groups.
The Brunei Darussalam Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) and the Energy Division have commissioned teams of consultants to conduct studies on An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan for Negara Brunei Darussalam and a Nationwide Feasibility Study on Alternative Energy Sources and to Formulate a Roadmap Towards Achieving Energy Security and Sustainability for Brunei Darussalam”. Canadian consultants Powertech Labs Inc carried out the alternative energy study which looked at bioenergy, hydroelectricity, hydrogen, nuclear, ocean, solar and wind. Three alternative energy sources, namely bioenergy, hydrogen and ocean, were found to be the most feasible when looking at a medium-capital, low-risk and short-term solution and were suggested for long-term development projects.The EEC study carried out by the Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI) underlines transport and cooling as primary reasons for energy usage in BD. It pinpoints the regulation of the fuel economy and the setting of appliance standards as the start of more energy-efficient usage in the country.The full results and recommendations from these two studies are to be released and discussed at a national conference on ‘Energy Efficiency and Conservation and Alternative Energy: Policy Option for Wawasan 2035’ on 27 July 2011. The CSPS wants to see a multi-energy solution to the whole thing in considering the Wawasan 2035 Vision. Towards these objectives, various initiatives are being undertaken:Energy EfficienciesBD depends totally on fossil fuels for its energy needs. The efficient use of fossil fuel has been recognised as the most cost-effective measure in mitigating emissions of greenhouse gases, and in prolonging the nation's fossil fuel reserves. Increasing EE also contributes towards better air quality, reduction in energy costs, and moderating the growth in energy consumption. Brunei has a national target for the reduction of national energy intensity by 25% by 2030 (with 2005 as the base year), which concurs with the pledges by Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC) leaders in the 2007 Sydney Declaration. EE&C initiatives have been developed in BD to:Promote public awareness and encourage the adoption of EE technologies and best practices;Establish and develop EE&C regulations and guidelines to encourage practice;Improve energy efficiency in the supply, transportation and utilisation of energy;Develop energy efficiency labelling and standards to encourage procurement of energy efficient appliances; andStrengthen collaborations with local and international institutions, to develop and enhance human capacity building and sustain energy efficiency efforts.Bukit Panggal Power StationThe Bukit Panggal Power Station was a project under the 8th National Development Plan with a budget of about B$170 million. Construction work began in 2005, and the plant was operational by January 2008 where it uses the ‘Combined Cycle’ concept which is the first of its kind owned by the DES.Bukit Panggal Power Plant has a designed thermal efficiency of 47%, whereas the designed efficiency of existing generators using the ‘Simple Cycle’ is only, on average, 28%. The Bukit Panggal Power Station is based on a 140 hectare wide piece of land, where 75 hectares have been developed for phase one of its long term planning, with a capacity of 500MW.BD, through the Energy Division at the Prime Minister’s Office, is promoting energy efficiency & conservation. Human capacity development workshops on energy management and energy audit were organised in collaboration with local and international institutions. Energy clubs in schools were launched in 2009, so as to inculcate an energy efficient culture. The 24th May was declared, in 2007, as the Energy Day, to promote a more energy-conscious mindset and encourage the populace to adopt more environmentally sustainable lifestyle choices.The National Development Plan for 2007–2012 proposes that the three power grids currently operating independently will be interconnected by 2012. Utilisation of the Temburong Basin's hydro-electric potential is also covered under this plan.
In August 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Energy Division of the Prime Minister’s Office (EDPMO) and the Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) to construct a 1.2 MW PV power generation demonstration project, Tenaga Suria Brunei (TSB), for evaluating the performance of six types of photovoltaic panels. The TSB is the largest solar power demonstration plant in Southeast Asia, which aims to increase public awareness on the potential of solar as a source of clean and renewable energy. The construction of the solar plant started in 2009, and the system was connected to the national grid in 2010, making the first introduction of renewable energy being connected to the national power grid. It was completed on 31 July 2010, and the inauguration of the TSB was held on 26 May 2011. The TSB is expected to determine the most suitable solar panel, whether the panels should be set vertically or horizontally and the most efficient way in maintaining the facilities for the tropical climate conditions in BD in three years.An energy white paper to outline strategies to squeeze out more profits from oil and gas industries will be published in 2011. The document will address the country’s current energy-related challenges by calling for more upstream and downstream “growth”, maximising economic spin-offs from the industry and ensuring “secure, reliable and efficient supply and use of energy” through making use of key performance indicators (KPI).The government is actively promoting energy efficiency and conservation in various sectors in the economy. These activities include public education awareness campaigns, publications on energy efficiency & conservation issues, and talks, as well as a voluntary energy labelling scheme for air-conditioners. In addition, the economy is also enhancing its human capacity building through seminar-workshops on energy management, energy auditing and energy education in schools.Brunei Energy Expo (BEE) 2011 (www.bee2011.gov.bn/) was held between 21-23 September 2011, in conjunction with the 29th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting, to showcase energy development in the local, regional and international arena as well as to provide a platform for various representatives from many countries to interact and share knowledge on the prevailing energy technologies and initiatives. The Government is assessing the viability of large-scale PV electricity generation. To promote this effort, the government has initiated a solar energy demonstration project known as Tenaga Suria Brunei, with a capacity of 1.2 MW. The plant first connected to the power grid of the Department of Electrical Services in May 2010, and is now operating at full capacity after completing a 3-month testing period.
Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 759 MWThermal: 100%Total primary energy supply (2008): 3,629 ktoeNatural gas: 78.2%Oil and products: 21.8%In 2008, the economy generated 3,423 GWh of electricity, entirely from thermal sources, namely natural gas and oil. The electricity generated from natural gas amounted to 3,390 GWh and that from oil was 33 GWh.
The DES undertakes most of the functions of the sector authority, for example:1. Advise the government/minister on policies and strategies relating to energy issues that are specific to power, and on matters pertaining to the regulatory body,2. Advise the government/minister on matters relating to the generation, transmission, distribution, trading, retail, and use of electricity,3. Exercise and enforce the Electricity Act, as well as regulations.4. Address the interest of stakeholders and utilities with regards to:The prices charged and other terms for the supply of electricity,The security, reliability, availability and continuity of electricity supply,The electricity services provided,5. Promote the efficient use of electricity (potentially through demand side management),6. Recommend a regulatory framework with respect to the generation, transmission, and possible import and export of electricity,7. Protect the public from dangers arising from the generation, transmission, supply or use of electricity,8. Coordinate various activities with regard to supply infrastructure planning (such as supply security & sufficiency) & implementation, efficiency..
There is hardly any competition in the generation and retail of power in Brunei. There is no specific legislation governing the electricity sector.BD has a large extent of vertical integration. The DES is under the Ministry of Energy in the Prime Minister’s office, and it is in charge of operating the electricity sector. The DES is both a department and an integrated electric utility monopoly. As a utility, it is responsible for planning future generation and distribution requirements, while as a service department it sets standards and implements electricity usage plans in public buildings.The BPC supplies power to users in the Brunei Maura district exclusively, and is owned by the state, but has autonomy of operation.
In 2008, BD’s total final energy consumption was 1,606 ktoe, almost doubled from 810 ktoe in 2007. The sectoral shares of final energy consumption saw a significant increase in the industrial sector, which consumed 55.8%, followed by the transportation sector (23.7%) and the residential, commercial and non-energy sectors combined (18.0%). By energy source, gas contributed the largest share, accounting for 50.1% of consumption, followed by oil (33.0%) and electricity (16.8%). Natural gas accounts for 99% of the fuel use to generate electricity, with only 1% being generated by diesel fuel.As part of Brunei's Wasawan (Vision) 2035, a national energy efficiency study is being prepared by the Mitsubishi Corporation. In addition, a “Handbook on Energy Management” has been produced by the Energy Division of the Prime Minister's Office, detailing strategies for improving public and private-sector energy efficiency. Nonetheless, because of the regressive electricity tariff, there is little economic incentive to conserve electricity or to be energy efficient; and the power demand id rapidly growing at about 7-10%. Passive solar architecture should be encouraged in order to reduce the need for air-conditioning and to give natural day light in buildings.
Compared to the international target of approximately 10–12%, the Bruneian electricity supply industry showed high system losses of about 20%. One of the targets of the current Power Development Policy is; “To plan, design and commission a low loss transmission and distribution system”. In 2008, the loss was decreased to 4.79%.Brunei's current reliance on oil and gas as the sole sources of energy to generate income and provide a ready surplus of energy for the citizens of Brunei is not sustainable in the long term, without proper energy efficiency and conservation measures. Brunei consumes a disproportionate amount of energy in relation to its small population. The usage of energy for transportation and electricity consumption per capita are among the highest in Asia.
The Brunei Energy Association (BEnA), created in 2002, plays a major role in the development of the energy industry, and in improving the dissemination of knowledge and emphasis on energy conservation and efficiency.A current challenge is the trend in the level of national electricity energy consumption, which is equal to the consumption levels in highly developed countries, and to which the main contributions are from residential users. BEnA will be responsible for the drive to increase participation in the preservation, conservation and efficient use of energy.The Energy Efficiency Conservation Committee (EECC) promotes public awareness in the importance of energy efficiency and conservation.
Electricity marketElectricity is supplied by the Department of Electrical Services (DES, www.des.gov.bn) and the Berakas Power Management Company Sdn Bhd (BPMC). The BPMC is in effect owned by the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), but operates as a private limited company, which owns four power stations, including Berakas 1, Berakas 2, Gadong and Jerudong, and supplies 40% of the national electricity requirement. It supplies power to important sites, such as royal palaces, hospitals and military facilities. The DES owns four power generating plants, including three gas-fuelled and one diesel-fuelled plants (Malik 2011: 428). Metering and cable supply has been privatised. Both the DES and BPC are state-owned, the division between them dating back to 1992. While the DES is a service provider as a utility, BPMC is solely a utility, with its billing services run by the DES, which also has most of the functions of the sector authority.The DES is the government utility in charge of the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the country. The DES also sets the standards for the usage of electricity in public buildings, and oversees their overall electro-mechanical maintenance.Oil and gas marketBrunei Shell Petroleum (BSP, www.bsp.com.bn) dominates the production of natural gas and crude oil from both onshore and offshore fields, and owns the Brunei Refinery. BSP produces 90% of its oil and all its commercial gas from seven offshore fields. The Government of BD and the Asiatic Petroleum Company Limited are equal shareholders. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) activities are carried out by Brunei LNG (BLNG, www.blng.com.bn), a joint venture between the government of Brunei (50%), Mitsubishi (25%), and Shell (25%). BLNG receives most of its natural gas supplies from BSP, although from the beginning of 1999, it began receiving small amounts of natural gas from Total’s offshore production facilities.The Brunei National Petroleum Company (PetroleumBRUNEI) is the state-owned utility in the field of oil exploration and production, as well as mining.
Degree of independence
The DES is a government body, directly subsidiary to the Ministry of Energy of the Prime Minister's Office. The organisation is headed by a Director, with no governing board. Financing for the organisation comes partly from tariffs imposed on consumers for the company's operations in the electricity service sector.
On 23 June 2009 Brunei became a Signatory State of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
BD implements five-year economic development plans known as the National Development Plans. Currently, the ninth National Development Plan (2007–2012) is in force. In line with this plan, the economy has also launched a long-term development plan, the Brunei Vision 2035. The plan states that the economy’s major goal for the next three decades is economic diversification, along with strengthening of the oil and gas sector. The latter is to be achieved by expanding the sector’s oil and gas reserves through ongoing exploration, both in existing areas, and in new deep-sea locations.BD’s energy policy is centred on its oil and gas industry. In 1981, the Oil Conservation Policy was introduced when oil production peaked at 239,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 1980. The policy aimed to prolong the life of the economy’s oil reserves. As a result, oil production gradually declined to around 150 bbl/d in 1989. In November 1990, the government reviewed the policy and removed the production ceiling, resulting in production of 219 bbl/d by 2006.In 2000, the Brunei Natural Gas Policy (Production and Utilisation) was introduced. The policy aimed to maintain gas production at 2000 rates in order to adequately satisfy export obligations. It aimed to open new areas for exploration and development, and encourage increased exploration by new and existing operators. Under the policy, priority is always given to domestic utilisation of gas, especially for electricity generation.The Brunei National Petroleum Company Order, introduced in January 2002, empowers the Brunei National Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (PetroleumBRUNEI) to act as the economy’s oil company. Among others, PetroleumBRUNEI is given designated Areas for which the company has the right to negotiate, conclude and administer petroleum sharing agreements.The Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) goals submitted to the 5th East Asia Summit Energy Ministers Meeting, held on 20 September 2011 in BD, state that the country uses Energy Intensity (TPES/GDP) as the EE Indicator, and aims at 25% improvement by 2030 from 2005 level. The action plans to achieve the EE&C goals above are mostly formulated in 2010, including the voluntary basis EE 5-star labelling for commercial and residential sectors, the establishment of “Energy Club” in secondary schools, the declaration of “Energy Day” (24 May) to inculcate EE&C culture, and National EEC Initiative Award Competition. The enhancement of supply side management in power sectors has been added in 2011 in order to increase efficiency and reduce use of energy, with a specific goal of more than 45% of efficiency through combined cycle and co-generation. The Energy Labelling and Standards for electrical products to the national market through the Energy Labelling and Standards Task Force (ELSTF), which was established in September 2008 in the Energy Division, is one of BD’s EE&C Initiatives. The Energy Labelling Scheme was launched as a voluntary basis scheme on 26 May 2008 preliminary for single-phase non-deducted room air conditioners and will be extended to other appliances in the later stage. BD, as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has signed the ASEAN Petroleum Security Agreement. Under the agreement, the country has agreed to cooperate closely on energy security relating to oil supply with other member states. The ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation of 2010-2015 and a number of activities and programmes under the umbrella of the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) are central to the drive towards achieving among others the region’s energy security, efficiency and conservation. For example, Brunei Darussalam is working with other ASEAN members on the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline project and the ASEAN Power Grid project to promote and enhance energy security through energy market integration in the region. During the 29th AMEM, held in BD, ASEAN and the IEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Energy.In August 2007, BD ratified the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and subsequently ratified its Kyoto Protocol on 20th August 2009.
BD has been a net exporter of oil and gas. The country significantly reduced its imports of the refined petroleum products, which was high owing to the limited domestic refining capacity, to 6% in 2008. Oil and gas production of 9,838 ktoe and 11,288 ktoe respectively, amounted to 21,126 ktoe in 2008, an increase of 1.4% from 2007 production (20,834 ktoe). Brunei Darussalam exported 82.3% of its oil and gas production in 2008.
Role of the government
On 24 May 2005, the government created the post of, and appointed, the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office. The Minister of Energy presides over energy matters in the country, including those of petroleum and electricity. Upon the creation of the post, the Energy Division at the Prime Minister’s Office was also formed. The Petroleum Unit and the Department of Electrical Services were brought under the purview of the Minister of Energy in the same year.The Energy Division advises the Minister of Energy on pertinent matters concerning energy and its administration. The energy matters that are handled by the Energy Division range from petroleum and electricity matters, to energy policy and sustainable energy issues.In July 2011, the Energy Minister announced the merger of the Energy Division and the Petroleum Unit at the PMO into the Energy Department at the PMO, retaining the division’s former acronym, EDPMO, in order to achieve the KPIs in the energy white paper.
Brunei does not currently have a dedicated policy framework for renewable energies. The current regulatory framework for the electricity sector dates back to 1973, with the Electricity Act, and its subsequent amendment in 2002. The act details the role of the DES in the electricity sector as a service provider and a governing body, as well as prescribing the conditions necessary for the granting of licenses to use electrical equipment, and the responsibilities of the DES to the electricity sector, including the department's regulatory responsibilities.The Energy Division will work with the Ministry of Development (MoD) to incorporate energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C) features into the existing National Building Code. The existing National Building Code will be updated to include EE&C features, applicable to house construction.
Numerous barriers exist to the improvement of energy regulation. The disassociation of electricity service company and regulator would help improve the fairness of regulation, but is yet to occur in BD. The lack of experience in sustainable energy and its regulation could be overcome through further capacity building.
No dedicated energy regulator exists in the country. Regulatory functions are fulfilled by the DES, established in 1921, whose mission includes the management and development of the electricity sector.
Solar energyBrunei has considerable potential for solar energy, and photovoltaics/solar thermal technologies have been the most investigated renewable energy application in the country. Average daily insolation is in the region of 400 to 500 W/m2, with peaks of over 1000 W/m2. A solar diesel hybrid electric power system with a 2.4kW solar array and an 80kVA diesel generator was installed in 2000 at Ulu Belalong National Park in the Temburong district, as an initial foray into solar technology. Despite the potential of the photovoltaics technology, the technology will be used as an alternative or add up power resource by the Government to the national grid or as an individual system for only small scale applications, rather than for much needed air-conditioning, which requires a large and costly photovoltaics system for individual users. Solar thermal energy could be used for low and medium temperature applications such as solar water heaters, but not for high temperature applications as the direct component of solar radiation to be concentrated is not available throughout the day (Malik 2011: 435). Wind energyMeasurements taken by the Department of Physics at the University of Brunei Darussalam indicate annual average wind speeds of 5 m/s in coastal regions, suggesting the potential for power generation from wind energy in the country. The first wind turbine to be installed in the country will be at the Ministry of Development, and further studies are being conducted in order to ascertain the potential for further wind energy utilisation. The calculation based on the offshore wind data, theoretical possible annual potential offshore wind power is 372 MW (Malik 2011: 430).HydropowerWhile the high rainfall in BD provides a potential for the generation of hydropower, the running water in the rivers does not have a sufficient head which could be utilised to produce hydropower without building a storage dam. However, because of the small size of the country, it is difficult to find a location to build a dam. Measurements taken by the Department of Electrical Services (DES) indicate that the Temburong Basin has an estimated hydro-electric potential of 300 GWh per year, equivalent to 70-80 MW of installed hydropower capacity. The negative environmental impacts in the construction of hydropower installations are a barrier to further studies of this resource.Ocean energyOcean power is another option to be studied. The potential for power generation from tidal energy has also been investigated in the country. Whilst it is theoretically possible to generate approximately 335 kW of tidal energy annually, it may not be economically viable owing to the location of the country. Ocean thermal energy conversion is not possible due to the small temperature gradient between the top and bottom layers of the ocean. The potential of wave energy depends on the month, with December providing the maximum power. Provided that approximately 269km of the coastline in BD could produce 15-126 GW of wave energy, the annual theoretical potential of the wave energy in BD is 66 x 1010 W. Biomass energyBrunei has considerable forest resources, with an average of 382 tonnes of wood potential per hectare across the country. The proper cultivation of rainforest for energy production has been identified as a priority for increasing the utilisation of renewable energy sources in the country, provided that an integrated total system design was used to prevent undue damage to the nation's forest resources. In addition, with the increasing population and the six landfill sites in BD, the country should be able to produce landfill gas for power generation as a by-product of the decomposition of solid waste.Geothermal energyWhilst the potential for geothermal energy utilisation has been proposed in Brunei, no dedicated study has yet been conducted into the theoretical and economically viable potentials for geothermal power generation.
- Brunei-Low Carbon Asia Research Network (LoCARNet)
- IEA Renewables in Southeast Asian Countries: Trends and Potentials
- ASEAN-IEA Activities
- Survey of Biomass Resource Assessments and Assessment Capabilities in APEC Economies
- Assessment of Biomass Resources from Marginal Lands in APEC Countries
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