Natural Gas Will Play a Growing Role in a Gradually Decarbonising Energy System But Strong Political Action Is Currently Needed To Promote Coal-To-Gas Switching Worldwide

CEDIGAZ, the International Association for Natural Gas Information, has just released its « Medium and Long Term Natural Gas Outlook 2016 ». This scenario, which incorporates key objectives of current and also planned national energy policies, highlights the growing role of natural gas as a bridge fuel towards a long-term increasingly renewable-based, efficient and sustainable energy system. Given the vast low-cost coal resources, the future expansion of natural gas in the global energy mix will be driven by the implementation of energy and environmental policies aiming to shift away from coal and oil to cleaner fuels within the context of a gradually decarbonising electricity system. In this scenario, the future global natural gas expansion is supported by strong supply growth, particularly of unconventional gas and LNG, in a context of rising prices as energy markets re-balance. CEDIGAZ Scenario’s trajectory is on a 3°C path, with energy-related CO2 emissions increasing by 0.3%/year on average, reaching almost 35 Gt over the 2030-2035 period.

A lot of hot air? – To what extent could gas lose ground in the heating market in Europe

According to the latest CEDIGAZ report, the gas for heating market in Europe, for many years a stable and growing demand source, is on the cusp of significant change, which is likely to lead to major declines over the coming decades. Key uncertainties remain over the pace and extent of these declines, and gas utilities would be well advised to prepare for changes by involvement in district heating and other technologies which maintain gas as part of a lower carbon heating future.

Natural gas is the dominant fuel for heating residential and commercial properties in the EU, providing 47% of both input energy and useful heat in 2013. However, gas for heating faces major challenges in coming decades due to calls for greater energy efficiency and decarbonisation of the heating sector. Although, in the mid-term , expansion of CHPs and DHNs provide some opportunities for gas, long-term forecasts show gas demand for heating declining over the period to 2050, but there are significant variations in the future levels from a business as usual scenario which sees gas demand at 165 bcm in 2050 (compared to 195 bcm in 2013) to a high energy efficiency scenario which at only 44 bcm.

Latest developments of the Egyptian gas industry

Egyptian marketed natural gas production has been steadily declining since 2009, as a result of the depletion of offshore mature gas fields and delays in new offshore developments (West Nile Delta), exacerbated by the political unrest. This downturn accelerated in 2013 (- 6%) and even further in 2014 (- 14%). In 2015, marketed production is estimated down 8.9% to 44.5 bcm, according to Cedigaz provisional estimates.

In a context of production shortfall, natural gas consumption declined from 52 bcm in 2013 to 48 bcm in 2014. In 2015, natural gas consumption stabilized despite the production decline as Egypt started importing gas after soaring power demand forced it to halt LNG exports.