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    Gas needed for decades to come: OGT2023


Gas has a key role to play in the energy transition, which puts Turkmenistan and its abundant reserves in an important position, the speakers said.

by: NGW

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Gas needed for decades to come: OGT2023

Speakers at a plenary session of the OGT2023 conference in Turkmenistan last week stressed that natural gas would be needed for decades for come, while stressing that the Central Asian country, with its abundant reserves of the fuel, had the potential to play a major role in the energy transition.

It is clear that oil and gas will be needed in significant quantities in the years up to 2050, said John Macgregor, Canadian diplomat and head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, summarising the sentiments of the speakers at the session, which he was moderating.


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He also stressed the importance of collaboration in the energy industry to achieve the goal of net zero – the sharing of knowledge and experience while developing new technologies and ensuring best practices.

“None of us can do this alone. We all need to work together,” he said.

Gas has already helped reduce global emissions significantly, Musabbeh Al Kaabi, director of low carbon solutions and international growth at ADNOC, said, noting that coal-to-gas switching had avoided 500mn tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2010. The world must embrace renewables and other nascent low-carbon technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS), he said. But in the meantime, gas should be recognised as a low-carbon solution that is already readily available. 

Turkmenistan, with its sizable natural gas reserves – the fifth largest proven in the world – as well its significant renewables potential, can become a key player on the road to net zero, he said.

Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, also shared a speech via video link at the session. The oil and gas industry can play a significant role in the future energy system, she said, adding that the EU would continue investing in partnerships with reliable natural gas suppliers as it continues in its effort to replace lost Russian pipeline supply. She did not specifically mention Turkmenistan, which could one day deliver gas to Europe if the Trans-Caspian pipeline project is realised.

The speakers also stressed that energy should be affordable and secure during the energy transition. The energy transition cannot happen overnight and in the meantime the world needs reliable energy, Li Fanrong, president of China’s CNPC, stressed in a video link. China is an attractive gas market to suppliers given its growth prospects, he continued, adding that Turkmenistan was a key energy partner for the country.

Turkmenistan delivered 33bn m3 of natural gas via pipeline to China last year, and is hoping to expand shipments by further developing large gas reserves in its east, such as the giant Galkynysh field – one of the largest onshore gas deposits in the world. China and Turkmenistan have been in discussions for years on constructing a fourth, 30bn m3/yr string of the Central Asia - China pipeline, which would support a further growth in supplies.

Fallout from the conflict in Ukraine resulted in the world losing only 3% of its energy supply, but nevertheless led to an unprecedented spike in prices for gas, power and other energy sources, as well as some electricity outages, BP’s vice president for finance for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Colin Allan, noted. Energy affordability must be ensured in order for support for the energy transition to be maintained, he said.