BARCELONA, Spain, November 13, 2019
International Gas Union Reaction to the IEA World Energy Outlook 2019
The International Gas Union (IGU) welcomes findings in the International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook (WEO), which supports the vital economic and environmental role for natural gas in a sustainable energy future.
In this year’s Stated Policies Scenario, the share of natural gas in global primary energy demand grows to about 25% by 2040, and in the Sustainable Development Scenario, gas also retains a critical role by supplying a projected one fifth of the world’s primary energy in 2050.
WEO states that “Over the next two decades, global demand for natural gas grows more than four-times faster than demand for oil in the Stated Policies Scenario. Natural gas sees broad-based growth across the energy economy, in contrast to oil where growth is concentrated in parts of the transport sector (trucks, shipping and aviation) and petrochemicals”.
These growth projections emphasize the continued importance of natural gas as a vital part of the global energy mix both now and in the future. China is a strong case in point: natural gas consumption there increased by 33% in just two years (2017-18), and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, in line with the important role of natural gas in improving air quality and helping reduce carbon emissions.
Professor Joo-Myung Kang, President of the IGU, commented: “This year’s WEO continues to place natural gas at the heart of a sustainable energy future. In doing so, the WEO also focuses on an examination of the oil and gas linkage as it relates to the extent of global associated gas production and use. The findings of the WEO reinforce the themes outlined in this year’s Global Gas Report, namely that cost competitiveness, sustainability, and security of supply will play critical roles in ensuring that natural gas realizes its full potential in the rapidly evolving global energy markets”. (https://www.igu.org/publication/302419)
The Outlook also looks in-depth at the role of gas in Africa stating that: “Natural gas is facing a potential turning point in Africa. Outside North Africa, natural gas has not so far played a major role in energy development – at 5%, the share of gas in the energy mix in sub-Saharan Africa is one of the lowest in the world. The future looks likely to be different: recent discoveries across the continent could fit well with Africa’s push for industrial growth and its need for reliable electricity supply. Developing gas infrastructure, however, will be a major challenge given generally small market sizes and concerns about affordability.”
The report further explores the role of natural gas infrastructure in the transition to a low emissions future, including whether existing systems can be leveraged to an emerging hydrogen economy. It highlights the importance of natural gas grids to energy security, and states that “(g)as grids provide a crucial mechanism to bring energy to consumers, typically delivering more energy than electricity networks and providing a valuable source of flexibility.”
Further findings and projections relating to the natural gas market in the WEO include:
- Developing Asian economies account for half of global gas demand growth and virtually all of the increase in traded volumes. China leads this growth, across both the pipeline gas and LNG sectors, as the share of gas in its energy mix nearly doubles by 2040, to 13% from 7%.
- The US will add 200 billion cubic metres to global gas production by 2025, and more than half will be destined for export markets. Iraq and Mozambique emerge as large producers.
- LNG dominates growth in global gas trade, driven by a growing spot market and more destination flexibility, along with a move away from oil-indexed contracts.
- In the Stated Policies scenario, about $370 billion will need to be invested in the natural gas economy – $240 billion to develop upstream resources and the rest for infrastructure, including distribution systems, shipping and LNG liquefaction and regasification facilities.
- Interest in low-carbon hydrogen has surged recently, in particular where deep emissions reductions are required in hard-to-abate sectors.
- WEO2019 suggests that more than 730 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) – or more than 20% of annual global natural gas demand – could be produced in a sustainable manner.