Natural gas has a bright future ahead; Experts

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Natural Gas Pipelines
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Addressing his fellow Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) members at the body’s monthly lecture Elena Burmistrova, Deputy Chairman of Gazprom Management Committee and the Director-General of Gazprom exports observed that natural gas will indeed outlive the negative effects of COVID-19 on the global energy industry in the short-term and could even lead the industry’s growth in the medium and long-term. 

“The coronavirus pandemic is not a reality that will stay with us forever. The mid-term and long-term fundamental factors that favor natural gas remain unchanged,” the senior official from Russian energy giant Gazprom pointed out.

In her analysis of the virtual GECF Monthly Lecture entitled “Natural Gas: New Market Realities or Temporary Impediment?”, Ms. Burmistrova commented that the natural gas sector was suffering from an oversupply and warm weather crises even before the pandemic.

Speaking about Asia, Gazprom’s major market, the Director-General of Gazprom exports noted that “At the end of 2019, the surplus of gas in European storages was 21 bcm above the levels of late 2019. The pandemic only spurred the crisis … and the imposed restrictions added pressure on ailing gas demand by depressing economic activity,” adding that consumption in the continent declined by 6.5 percent to a 10-year low in the first half of the year.

Sharing an optimistic outlook about the prospects of natural gas, Ms. Burmistrova maintained that “The outlook for natural gas is underpinned by its important role in supporting decarbonization, a shift away from coal, and as a source of low-carbon fuel when combined with carbon capture use and storage. The latest analysis shows that gas will remain the fastest-growing fossil fuel, and the only fossil fuel expected to grow beyond 2035.”

Supportive of the guest speaker’s view of the industry, GECF Secretary General HE Yury Sentyurin commented that despite the difficulties faced by the global economy in much of 2020, natural gas remains on the cusp of being the number one source of energy in the world.

GECF Global Gas Outlook 2050

The latest data available from GECF’s Global Gas Outlook 2050 projects that natural gas will be an indispensable fuel in the long-run, complementing the energy transition. The Outlooks expects natural gas to overtake the consumption of coal by in 2025 and become the single largest primary energy source by 2050 by increasing its current global share of 23 percent to  28 percent by 2050.

The Outlook suggests that Asia Pacific, North America, and the Middle East markets contributing to more than 75 percent of the total gas demand growth by 2050 with the African continent growing the fastest at approximately 3.1 percent per year.