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Natural gas to play a vital role in ongoing energy transition


At the AIEN International Energy Summit held from 30 May-1 June in Miami, Florida, one of the panels took a look at ‘Natural Gas: Fuelling the energy transition?’ 

It is becoming increasingly evident that practical application of multiple energy solutions is needed to meet the varied energy needs of all nations. As each nation assesses its available resources in conjunction with the Paris Agreement Net-Zero 2050, it is critical to consider the role of natural gas over the next few decades.

The moderator of the session, Majed Limam, manager, Americas, LNG and Natural Gas Advisors, Poten & Partners, began the conversation by reminding the audience that the recent G7 in Japan had made it clear that LNG is indispensable, something the panel readily agreed with.

“Natural gas is here to stay,” said Mark Aufmuth, head of Low Carbon Origination for Gas and Power Trading Americas, bp. “When you look at the different scenarios of the energy transition and how quickly they may play out, natural gas has a huge role to play. When it comes to getting it to emerging economies so they can decarbonise, it plays a huge role. When you combine it with CCS efforts for power generation or to supplement renewables, it plays a huge role. It is an ‘all of the above’ approach. ‘And’ not ‘or’.”

Victoria Sabbioni, Gas, Power and Midstream commercial director, CGC, agreed. "We’ve been using natural gas in Argentina for years; we know it very well. It is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. It is also important to take into account that each country has its own issues – especially in emerging countries. We can’t afford to invest in unknown solutions. It needs to be reliable.

“We have a very clean energy matrix, so we need to help other countries decarbonise. We can fund our economies by benefiting from demand for our own product.”

Amine Soudani, LNG JV Manager North America, TotalEnergies, thinks Europe has not yet tapped into the potential of natural gas. "The key to a successful energy transition is diversification," he said. "Look at what has happened to Europe over the last year or so. Europe is too reliant on oil and gas, but we don’t see Europe signing up for long term contracts."

Anatol Feygin, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Cheniere Energy, Inc, noted a big shift from the hydrocarbon industry when it comes to its value chain, saying, “The hydrocarbon industry is going to make tremendous progress decarbonising the value chain. It is committed to its social obligations to operate, which is not something I would have said a couple of years ago. Without certain commitments, the industry wouldn’t have a seat at certain tables. It will take a long time to decarbonise the supply chain, but we will have the benefit of the early stages of gas decarbonisation.”

While natural gas is not the answer to all the energy trilemma problems, the industry clearly thinks it will be vital in the ongoing transition.