Natural gas to play growing role in global energy mix: BP report

The latest BP Energy Outlook has revealed that natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel, supported by strong supply growth and environmental policies.

The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, outlining the ‘most likely’ path for energy demand by fuel, based on assumptions and judgements about future changes in policy, technology and economy, and develops a number of alternative cases to explore key uncertainties. It found that:

  • natural gas will be the second largest fuel source in 2035, overtaking coal but trailing behind oil
  • natural gas is the fastest growing transport fuel, with a growth rate of 6.3 per cent per annum
  • the share of shale gas in global gas production will more than double from 11 per cent in 2014 to 24 per cent in 2035
  • oil will grow steadily at 0.9 per cent a year, although its overall share of the energy mix will continue to decline.

The report forecast that natural gas consumption would increase by 1.8 per cent a year to 2035. The majority of the increase in demand will come from emerging economies, with China and India together accounting for around 30 per cent of the increase and the Middle East over 20 per cent.

“Gas looks set to become the fastest growing fossil fuel, spurred on by ample supplies and supportive environmental policies. In contrast, the growth of global coal consumption is likely to slow sharply as the Chinese economy rebalances,” BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley said.

APPEA Chief Executive Malcolm Roberts said the report confirmed the key role of natural gas in the global energy mix and its growing importance in the low carbon economy of the future.

He said Australia was capitalising on the world’s growing appetite for cleaner burning natural gas and was poised to become the world’s leading LNG exporter, as new projects enter production in the next few years.

“The projects will generate significant economic benefits for Australia through investment, jobs, increased income, and additional taxation revenues over the coming decades,” Dr Roberts said.

“Natural gas is a safe, clean and reliable energy source for industry and millions of households, and is an irreplaceable feedstock for a range of industrial applications in the plastic and chemicals industries,” he added.

The release of the report comes on the back of the International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr Faith Birol’s visit to Australia. Mr Birol noted that Australia’s investments in LNG production would deliver long-term benefits.

“Australia made a very good move to be the champion of LNG around 2020,” he said.

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