Relative to other fuels, natural gas remains well-positioned as cost competitive, secure, and environmentally sustainable but it will be necessary for the global gas industry to build on recent successes by enabling greater diversification of market growth in the near term, according to the latest report of the International Gas Union (IGU).
The potential for natural gas is strong but it's not certain, the union's "Global Gas Report 2019" said.
Gas remains well-positioned and this helped to sustain strong market growth in recent years and enabled investment in infrastructure for the supply and consumption of natural gas, the report reads.
"To sustain growth over the long run, it will be necessary for the global gas industry to build on recent successes by enabling greater diversification of market growth in the near term while laying the groundwork to ensure the long term viability of gas under any circumstances," IGU said and added that doing this requires three steps.
- Governments and industry need to make gas more cost competitive with other fuels on a sustained basis. This includes expanding access to low cost gas reserves globally while also reducing costs at all steps through natural gas supply chains. Sustained industry innovation will be critical in this regard.
- Investment in gas infrastructure will be critical to sustaining growth in access to gas while also preparing for future energy transitions. In Asia, expanding access to gas through LNG regasification and transmission and distribution infrastructure investment is most critical, while in Europe, the development of infrastructure to supply low carbon gas will be key.
- To maximize the sustainability benefits of gas, the industry must continue to act to reduce methane emissions while governments implement new policies that enable greater use of gas. In the short term, this includes more stringent air quality policy measures as well as steps to enable more rapid coal-to-gas switching. For the development of low carbon gas technologies over the longer term, policy can play a key role in promoting technological innovation, developing supply sources, and ensuring market demand.
IGU underlined that realizing the potential of natural gas will require consistent support and coordinated action by industry and national governments.
It is entirely possible to achieve sustained rapid growth for natural gas, but it shouldn't be taken for granted, the report said.
By Murat Temizer