KUALA LUMPUR: THE Third-Party Access (TPA) system, which allows third parties to access gas facilities they do not own or operate, can help create a gas industry that is strong and globally competitive.
International Gas Union (IGU) vice-president Dr Joo-Myung Kang said Malaysia could learn from countries that had adopted the system in their gas market reform initiatives.
Dr Kang emphasised that certain areas of the energy industry could remain as a monopoly forever due to limited resources.
However, it is equally important to know that any move to liberalise the market should come with the right timing.
“To attract third-party players from both local and international companies, there needs to be a level playing field,” he said recently.
It is understood that the system has been an important tool in the liberalisation of gas markets in several developed nations.
Countries that adopted TPA, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, have reportedly gained substantial economic benefits from the system.
In Asia, other countries that have introduced TPA system include Japan, China, Thailand and Singapore.
Dr Kang said reforms in the UK were initially seen as a failure as gas prices increased in the first few years of implementation.
However, the situation turned around years later and the system was proven to help create a sustainable gas industry.
He said the gas market in the UK also went through challenges initially.
But today, the UK is recognised as one of the most liquid in the world, where it facilitates efficient competition and enhances energy security.
These markets have shown the TPA system is an effective means to foster healthy competition, which eventually leads to increased efficiency in delivery, quality of services and more choices of suppliers for consumers.
More countries are gradually seeing the importance of the TPA system in efforts to ensure sustainability of supply.
In Malaysia, a significant step has been taken to introduce the TPA system as part of the country’s gas market liberalisation move.
The Gas Supply Act 1993 was amended in 2016 and came into effect on January 16 last year to provide the legal framework in Malaysia for the TPA system — where third parties can access gas facilities that they do not own or operate.
For Petronas Gas, the first regasification terminal in Sungai Udang in Melaka was successfully commissioned in 2013.
It has contributed significantly towards enhanced gas supply and energy security in Peninsular Malaysia.