Eurogas sees larger role for natural gas

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, May 17 -- Any future outlook for sustainable energy must involve a larger role for natural gas, said members of the European Union of the Natural Gas Industry (Eurogas) after its forecasting task force recently updated its 2007 assessment.

Current expectations of long-term development of gas demand are 15-20% lower than 3 years ago. Nevertheless, indications are natural gas consumption in EU member states will rise to 500-535 million tons of oil equivalent (toe) in 2030 from 437 million toe in 2007.

The share of gas in Europe's primary energy demand could rise by 2030 to 26.7% in the base case and 28.7% in the environmental scenario from a 24% share in 2007.

Demand primarily will be stimulated by electric power generation that should account for 36-38% of total gas demand by 2030, up from 30% in 2007, due to its “considerable potential” for reducing carbon dioxide emissions at low cost. But gas utilization in homes and businesses will play a role as will natural gas vehicles, and others.

The problem will be to secure gas supplies to meet future demand, as indigenous production in Europe (including Norway) will decrease from 250 million toe in 2007 to 200 million toe in 2020 and 145 million toe in 2030 when the EU gas market will need to import 70% of its supply from outside its borders. Even intra-EU unconventional gas production would not exceed 20-25 million toe/year.

Pointing out the procurement challenge must be considered within future global competition for gas, Eurogas strongly advocates the industry fosters long-term relationships with major suppliers, transit countries as well as multilateral organizations and structures.

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