SPE ATCE: Gas demand expected to grow

Guntis Moritis
OGJ Production Editor

FLORENCE, ITALY, Sept. 21 -- Worldwide demand for natural gas may grow by 1.3-1.6%/year through 2030, according to presentations at the opening general session of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition in Florence, Italy, on Sept. 20.

China is one of the countries driving the demand higher. During 2000-09, it experienced a 15.4%/year growth in demand, according to PetroChina Co. Ltd. Pres. Yan Cunzhang.

One note of caution about this growth was expressed by Michael Stoppard, IHS CERA managing director. Stoppard noted that the growth might be less than 1.6%/year if governments in Europe adopt a decarbonization strategy that positions gas as a dirty fossil fuel and clean coal as a green energy. He said that the public needs to hear a louder voice about gas which is abundant, clean, safe, cost competitive, technically producible, and with a good track record for delivery to markets such as electricity and power generation.

Howard Paver, with Hess Corp., noted that Hess has a gas demand growth projection of 1.3%/year to 2035. His estimate translates to needing 4,000 tcf of gas in that period and if this gas is unconventional, it would require the drilling of 1.3 million wells at a cost of about $4.5 trillion, he said.

Sara Ortwein, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co., said worldwide gas is abundant. One estimate is that 20,000 tcf remain to be produced worldwide. Of this, 10,000 tcf is conventional gas, 5,000 tcf is undiscovered gas, and 5,000 tcf is unconventional gas, she said.

Ortwein noted that gas has about 60% fewer emissions than coal and that such technologies as control freeze zone will lower the costs of removing carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide from sour gas. ExxonMobil plans to start up this fall its CFZ demonstration plant in La Barge, Wyoming, she said.

Contact Guntis Moritis at guntism@ogjonline.com.

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