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A flame is seen at Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility in Saudi Aramco's Shaybah oilfield, Saudi Arabia. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
A flame is seen at Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility in Saudi Aramco's Shaybah oilfield, Saudi Arabia. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Big Oil Says Natural Gas isn’t Going Away

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A flame is seen at Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility in Saudi Aramco's Shaybah oilfield, Saudi Arabia. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Energy companies say throughout the transition away from fossil fuel, natural gas will rapidly rise.

In fact, Big Oil thinks the streak of rapid growth will continue for decades to come.

Big Oil Loves Gas

Leading oil companies, such as Total, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell, are scrambling to adapt to the need to develop cleaner sources of energy. Climate change and changing government regulations are increasing the urgency of the need for Big Oil to invest in greener energy. This includes wind and solar power, electric vehicle technology and even carbon offsetting efforts such as reforestation.

At the same time, they view natural gas as a major player for several more decades. Natural gas is the least polluting among the fossil fuels. They predict that natural gas will experience rapid growth in coming decades as the demand for electricity rises ever faster.

Energy Throughout the Foreseeable Future

“Shell’s core business is, and will be for the foreseeable future, very much in oil and gas… and particularly in natural gas,” said Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer at Shell, during an Oil & Money conference speech.

Shell predicts that global demand for gas will grow by 2 percent per year by 2035, said van Beurden. That represents double the pace of the current worldwide energy demand.

United Nations Data Report

A report from the U.N. earlier this week said that if the world is to limit its temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius degrees, it will require large, rapid changes to the way energy is used. These changes will be unprecedented. It will require the world to triple its use of renewable energy to bring it to 70 to 85 percent of the global electricity supply by 2050.

Carbon emission capture and storage technology would reduce the gas-fired power share even further, to 8 percent, said the U.N. report. Oil did not even factor into the mix in the context of the report. That said, the report did not make it clear exactly how the global economy could go about pursuing these highly ambitious energy goals.

Today, natural gas holds approximately 22 percent of the worldwide energy mix. That said, many Big Oil execs want to see natural gas as a major component of the future low-carbon world economy.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.