DEMAND for liquefied natural gas (LNG) for power generation in Southeast Asia is leading to the development of the region's remaining natural gas reserves and creating what could eventually become a vast regional pipeline network, industry sources say. Documents presented at a gas industry conference in late January cited at least 4,605 kilometres of pipelines which had either been built or committed in Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. And the construction of more than 6,000 kms of pipelines is under study in those countries, according to delegates from major oil companies and Southeast Asian governments. The pipeline projects currently under consideration would run 350 km from Padang Besar to Khanam, and 200 km from Ranong to Khanom in Thailand; 190 km from Duri to Port Dickson and 500 km from Jakarta to Gresik Sumatra in Indonesia; and 650 km from BachHo to Bongkot in Vietnam, according to David Wilson, business development manager at R.J. Brown and Associates (Far East). Soe Myint, deputy director general of Burma's Energy Planning Department, said negotiations were under way with Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise of Burma to build a 470 km pipeline from the Yadana gas platform into western Thailand. Mr Wilson said: ''I think, without any real planning, the regional grid that people have been talking about is occurring as delivery points within the region increase.'' ''Governments are in a position to facilitate this process by including provisions in major pipeline licences that provide for future use of those pipelines by third parties,'' he added. But John Begg, project evaluations manager at Premier Oil Pacific, noted that the projected demand of Asia's major importers of LNG - Japan, South Korea and Taiwan - was expected to far exceed the capacity that could be met by existing regional suppliers. Begg predicted that Alaska would play an expanded yet subsidiary role as a supplier to the region in the absence of a politically stable Middle East. Increasing demand for electrical power and the replacement of fuel oil and coal-fired power plants by LNG plants is expected to bring overwhelming pressure to bear on the region's gas deposits in the coming years. ''By 2020, more than 40 per cent of natural gas use is expected to be for power generation, and gas use in the sector is expected to be around three times today's level,'' said Andrew Flower, LNG business manager at British Petroleum Exploration (BP). According to BP figures, LNG demand in Europe, North America and Asia reached 60 million tonnes in 1992. Delegates also predict that after 2000, new LNG markets could open in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and the Philippines. They noted that two power plants near Jakarta - Maura Karang and Tanjung Priok - were recently converted to burn gas supplied by Arco from the Java Sea fields as part of Indonesia's scramble for electricity generation. Another plant in Gresik, East Java, is expected soon to start using gas from Arco's Bali North field soon. According to Nguyen Hung, manager of Vietgas in Ho Chi Minh City, by 2010, power generation, industry and fertiliser production in Vietnam will require nine billion cubic metres of gas, some of which will come from Vietnam's Bach Ho and Dragon fields and some of which will be procured on the local market. Mr Hung forecast Vietnam's demand for the year at one billion cubic metres.