Gas is reaching a critical juncture in Europe, given coal phase outs in power generation, greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures in other sectors, and shifting supply dynamics, according to International Gas Union's latest "Global Gas Report 2019".
The IGU said that gas had played a central role in the European energy mix for decades, supplying around a quarter of all energy demand in Europe.
The union also said that gas access is also extensive across the continent, with widespread availability for residential, commercial, and industrial users.
"The resilient role of gas in the European energy mix is due to its positioning across the dimensions of the energy trilemma - it's relatively cost competitive to alternative fuels, ample
infrastructure ensures secure supply, and gas has contributed to reduction in localized pollution and emissions," said the union.
The role of gas in Europe is stable for some time, European gas market is now reaching a critical juncture, the body highlighted.
"In the power sector, a rapid transition from coal to gas is likely due to phase outs of coal power generation, followed by a subsequent shift to renewables," IGU said
"In the industry and buildings sectors, the speed and means of reducing emissions intensity is highly uncertain, with a range of electrification and low carbon gas technologies poised to compete."
IGU said that the structure of gas supply in Europe is shifting as domestic production is declining and Russian supply continues to take a greater share.
According to the report, at a local level in Europe, gas is playing a more diverse role across different sectors.
"Governments are adopting policies promoting more widespread use of gas while also enabling the adoption of low carbon gas technologies. For example: In the U.K., gas has now largely displaced coal in the power generation mix, due to the implementation of a carbon price floor. In Greece, investment is being made to enable the development of an LNG bunkering hub. While in France, the biomethane sector is poised for rapid growth," it explained.
The transport sector provides the greatest long-term growth opportunity, but depends on policy support to promote consumption and infrastructure development.
"As a result of these trends, the role of gas in Europe is becoming more diverse across markets. Additional infrastructure will be required to support the role of gas in Europe going forward, particularly to improve network interconnectivity, support renewables integration, and to scale the development of low carbon gas technologies," it reported.
By Murat Temizer