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    Exporters Lobby for Gas as World Recovers


The new edition of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum's outlook sees a strong case for the destination fuel as affordability and sustainability rise up the agenda.

by: William Powell

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Exporters Lobby for Gas as World Recovers

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) will dedicate more time this year lobbying for the use of gas as a sustainable and affordable energy source, its secretary-general Yuri Sentyurin said February 24. "The world is trying to cut emissions, not get rid of the gas industry," he said.

The organisation has observer status at the UN's Framework Convention for Climate Change, whose next major event is the COP 26 meeting late this year in the UK. "We will defend the interests of gas producers," he said. GECF members account for 71% of the global resources and almost half the global marketed production and he said the organisation would push for mandatory coal to gas switching, wider carbon pricing, and gas in transport as weapons in the fight against climate change. Gas, in combination with renewable energy, can account for 60% of the global power mix by 2050. 

GECF members had honoured all their contractual terms last year, he said, despite the loss of revenues as prices plunged with the introduction of lockdowns across the world. A number of plants had reduced their output of LNG in response to falling demand and buyers had tried to claim force majeure as a reason for not taking contracted cargos, although sustainable economic growth was dropping even before the pandemic owing to trade rivalries.

Sentyurin was speaking at the launch of the organisation's gas outlook for the next 30 years, by which point a number of major gas users, such as the European Union, intend to become net carbon neutral. Among the methods it can do this is by imposing a carbon tax on imports of energy and finished goods, making those with the lowest carbon footprint the lowest taxed.

This has focused GECF members' attention on cleaning up production at the well-head and processing plants as well as to prepare for the hydrogen age. Natural gas, linked to carbon capture and sequestration, will account for half the world's hydrogen demand, as that was the cheapest option for making it, he said. "It is too early to write off hydrocarbons," he added.

Cleaner than coal and more affordable than many other forms of energy, he said that gas would be needed as the world's population grew and needed access to electricity and heating. "Energy affordability will have a bigger role to play to fight poverty," he said, adding that by 205o, 2bn more people would need access to affordable energy.

World energy demand is projected to grow by 24% over that time and the share of gas will grow fastest of the fossil fuels, from 23% of the primary energy mix today to 28% as annual demand reaches 6 trillion m³/yr. And LNG will grow faster than pipeline gas, with heavy goods transport and shipping accounting for slice of that growth. By 2050, the new outlook says, LNG will account for 56% of internationally traded gas.