Natural Gas to Win Energy Race
Natural gas will become the world’s primary energy source in the future, according to projections of multiple energy outlook reports.
As stated in the Energy Transition Outlook by DNV GL, by 2050 natural gas will be the largest source of energy globally, having overtaken oil for the top spot by 2034. The sentiment is echoed in the World Energy Outlook 2017 by International Energy Agency (IEA). In their Sustainable Development Scenario, that projects the most desirable outcome for the future of the energy sector, based on United Nations Sustainable Development agenda, natural gas will become the largest single fuel in the global mix. It is specified that the consumption of natural gas will rise by nearly 20% to 2030 and will continue to be at this level going forward.
A more conservative projection is seen in IEA’s New Policies Scenario, that makes projections based on existing or already planned energy policies. It is speculated that by 2040 oil will land on top and natural gas will be relegated to the second place in the global energy mix.
One case in the BP Energy Outlook 2017, is also cautious. Even though it doesn’t refute that natural gas is expected to grow faster than oil or coal, it warns that this growth could be impeded by the lack of government support. If there are fewer policies discouraging the switch from coal to gas, the latter may stall in its rise to the top.
Although an increased use of natural gas would help shift to less carbon-intensive energy generation, it is still not sufficient on its own. For the average global temperature to rise no more than 2°C, a better approach needs to be taken. It would include new technologies connected to carbon capture and storage as well as making sure that the efficiency of energy usage rises along with shifting to low-carbon energy sources.
As thorough as these outlooks are, it is worth to remember that they cannot predict the future. For instance, since 2015 analysts and researchers have speculated about the imminent arrival of the glut of LNG, but it seems not to come to pass at the huge level that was predicted. Ultimately, there are a lot of things that could change the path of the gas sector in the future, so even the most thorough projections and scenarios should be taken with a grain of salt.