IGU welcomes IEA outlook for natural gas

The International Gas Union (IGU) has welcomed the positive outlook for the gas sector outlined in the IEA’s 2015 World Energy Outlook, and has urged policymakers to set clear strategies and policies that include the role natural gas should play in the transition to a sustainable energy future.

“Economic growth goes hand in hand with growing demand for natural gas. By increasing the use of natural gas in the power generation and transport sectors, quality of life will be greately enhanced,” said David Carroll, President of the IGU.

In the IEA’s New Policies scenario, which takes into account the effects of all existing climate policies and declared policy intentions, including the climate pledges made by countries in the run-up to COP21, global natural gas use continues its upward trend, growing at 1.4 per cent per year to 2040. According to the report, gas is the “fastest growing among the fossil fuels; demand of 5.2 tcm (trillion cubic metres) in 2040 brings gas towards parity with coal and oil in the global energy mix.”

Furthermore, in the IEA’s 450 Scenario, which in terms of climate policy is even more ambitious (assuming “a set of policies that bring about a trajectory consistent with the 2 degrees goal”), natural gas also shows a healthy future, growing until the mid-2020s and then staying level until 2040.

As Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, noted “not every fossil fuel is a fossil fuel, they are not the same thing, gas is different than coal, coal is different than oil, to put fossil fuels together and lump them in the same group may not be easy to write, but it may not be the right way to put things together.”

Dr. Birol said “In some parts of the world we are entering the golden age of gas but unless we have regulations for local pollution reasons or for climate change reasons,” the Golden Age of Gas will be more difficult in some regions.

The WEO - 2015 concludes that the global energy sector has embarked on a transition to the future energy world. The WEO - 2015, however, downplays the positive contributions natural gas and carbon capture storage (CCS) could make to this energy transition, and it does not provide a long-term strategy as to what the role of natural gas could be in the global energy mix of the future.

According to the IGU, a sound energy strategy for the future should include greater use of natural gas in power generation and transport.

“The best way to reduce emissions dramatically today is to switch to natural gas. From coal to natural gas in power generation, and in greater use of natural gas in the transport sector,” Mr Carroll said.

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