How is LNG expansion affecting local communities in Southeast Asia?

Together with our partners at the Centre for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and our LNG expansion journalism fellows, we hosted a community hangout to share insights into findings surrounding LNG in Southeast Asia.

The use of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is on the rise in Asia. Understanding the expansion of this industry will be critical for journalists to effectively tell the stories surrounding the movement.

As such, together with our partners at the Centre for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and our LNG expansion journalism fellows, we hosted a community hangout to share insights into findings surrounding LNG in Southeast Asia.

Our fellows had the chance to interact with the Asia community and share what they have discovered in their investigations and open up a broader discussion about how Asia’s growing energy demand is being met.

Now more than ever, LNG is being seen as a replacement fuel and the next step for current and future energy supply, however, it really is just another fossil fuel.

LNG expansion
An aerial shot of the Chana district, where the Royal Thai Government had planned to transform this agricultural area into an industrial estate zone. Photo credit: Napat Wesshasartar


CEED provided a brief overview of their study on LNG Expansion in the region (full report here). They shared the steps governments and companies are taking to spread the LNG outputs in the region during the post Paris Agreement period that are currently underdevelopment.

According to CEED’s findings in Vietnam and the Philippines, if all planned gas expansion of 138 GW capacity in development is built, gas-fired operating capacity in SEA, 89 GW as of GEM’s February data, will increase by more than twofold. Additionally, Cambodia and Indonesia have the most planned pipelines that make up to 65% of new pipelines in the region.

In the report, CEED recommended that banks should prohibit financing projects that violate human rights, endanger critically important and biologically diverse ecosystems and habitats and projects that pose grave reputational risks. 

Following CEED’s brief, our fellows from Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines shared about their fellowship journey and the stories that they covered. They spoke about what is happening right now, the impacts, opportunities, and whether or not they see a change on the horizon.

The article written by our fellow from Vietnam, Trang Do, covered why Vietnam’s LNG transition is unlikely to boom in this decade. She shared her experience of conducting interviews with corporations, central government, experts and villages who are witnessing the first hand impact of LNG expansion in their areas. Through her research, Trang shared that LNG is considered to be one of the main solutions to reach Vietnam’s COP26 agenda, but there’s a huge lack of research and studies on how to run the LNG market in a sustainable way.

Next up, Napat Wesshasartar shared his experience of covering the LNG expansion through the eyes of a local fishing community in the Chana district of Songkhla province in the south of Thailand. He shared that more than 100,000 residents of the area dependent on agriculture and local fisheries are in peril because 26,806,400 square metres of coastal land will be converted into the industrial estate.

Our fellow from the Philippines, Gaea Cabico, spoke about the two stories she wrote about LNG expansion in the Philippines. She shared about the LNG landscape where most of the stakeholders are after money and how the government is scaling up the development of LNG infrastructure. And the other story focuses on threats posed by the LNG expansion in the post city of Batangas where Verde Island Passage is home to 60% of all known shore fish species in the world. And now, it’s the site of eight planned gas power plants and seven LNG terminals.

In conclusion, although LNG is seen as a fuel source of the future, the lack of research and it still being a non-renewable resource and a methane gas that’s being pumped out and cooled down using a lot of energy.


Please head over to our Southeast Asia Community Group and South Asia Community Group. We would love to have you join our conversations with the community.