Natural Gas Credentials Outweigh Other Energy Sources, GECF Concludes

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The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has reiterated the strategic role of natural gas in global energy transition, stating that its credentials overweigh other energy sources such as coal and oil.

The Forum at its 3rd edition of Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s (GECF) Annual Workshop on Promotion of Natural Gas Demand called for corporation between gas producers, buyers as well as policy makers in positioning natural gas as a fuel of choice for the 21st century global economy.

According to the speakers at the Forum, natural gas is the fuel that can achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of Paris Agreement as its credentials far outweigh that of other energy sources such as coal and oil. 

The Annual Workshop on Promotion of Natural Gas Demand is a premier industry event and it’s designed to empower professionals and observers in the field of gas market to gain a deeper understanding of the market conditions, look at the common challenges, and think collectively on ways to promote natural gas to enhance its prospects as the fuel of choice for sustainable development.

Speaking at the event, the GECF Secretary General, HE Yury Sentyurin outlined the salient points that leverage gas industry’s growth and highlighted the Forum’s efforts in promotion of natural gas in line with the GECF Statute, the GECF Long-Term Strategy, and the Declaration of Malabo. Sentyurin noted that these among others guide the GECF to advocate for the versatility of natural gas based on fair pricing policies and a level playing field.

He said, “We recognise the vital role that natural gas has to play in energy transition and sustainable development as we strive for energy security for all nations.

“Now more than ever, there must be a spirit of collective collaboration amongst industry players in order to sustain existing markets, and more so to create new promising ones.

“We also recognise the crucial role of digitalisation as we strive to reduce cost across the natural gas value chain and enhance the competitiveness of natural gas,” Sentyurin said.

Also considered important is digitalisation across the value-chain, investment in infrastructure and research and development in innovative technologies. The virtual workshop is believed to have held at a critical time for the gas industry which is facing unprecedented levels of complexity and market upheaval brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and persistently mild winter.

Speaking during the first panel discussion, the CEO of Qamar Energy Mr Robbin Mills who focused his views on the Middle East region, hinted that gas demand growth is expected to shift from power to the industrial sector in the long-term due to increasing renewables deployment and improved efficiency in the region.

According to Mills, surplus of gas in the region could bring several opportunities, including new lighter industries, intra-regional export projects (gas, LNG and electricity), enhanced oil recovery, hydrogen production, and expansion of e-vehicles, which will support a growth in electricity demand.

Also, speaking, the General Delegate of International Group of LNG Importers, Mr Vincent Demoury who noted that although LNG has been growing at a healthy pace over the last few years, however, said that it faces several challenges in a post-COVID-19 world, including economic growth, volatility, affordability, and environmental policies.

Demoury said there is a need that producers, consumers, and policymakers work together to develop methodologies and invest in technology for decarbonising the gas industry and innovation to improve its competitiveness and sustainability.

The keynote speakers included the President of International Gas Union (IGU), Mr Joe M. Kang, the Executive Chairman of African Energy Chamber, Mr N. J. Ayuk, the Chairman of Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), Mr Magdy Galal, and Vice President LNG Marketing & Trading of Petronas, Mr Shamsairi Mohd Ibrahim.

Mr Kang in his remarks outlined the potential that technology can offer in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy access. He said action is needed in the area of taking FIDs on gas projects if the potential must be realised.

NJ Ayuk in his remarks reiterated the issue of lack of infrastructure in Africa, in particular, a deficit in regasification facilities. He signalled out the huge potential of gas monetisation in Africa, where gas industry development will trigger social and economic growth and create jobs.

He emphasised the crucial need for development of the gas industry in Africa through investment in infrastructure and industries.

Ayuk thanked the GECF for bringing the natural gas agenda to Africa, particularly by hosting the Forum’s Summit in Equatorial Guinea, and thereby in Africa for the first time, in 2019.

He also appreciated the GECF’s work in promoting further cooperation with African countries to use gas as the core source of energy in the development programmes and climate change policies, in delivering energy to the continent’s consumers, more broadly in alleviating energy poverty.

Peace Obi

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