(MENAFN - Gulf Times) • Replacing gas with an alternative fuel that may not happen soon and may fully become a substitute for coal as a fuel by 2030?
• The price of LNG may be around $7 per million thermal British unit during the next 10 years, and its price will not be as high as it was in the past
• Oil consumption may gradually decrease and be replaced by liquefied natural gas (LNG) to generate energy as well as renewable energy alternatives
If we look at the future of natural gas in Europe, we see that some large European facilities are still operating with liquefied natural gas, whether in gas stations in Britain, Belgium and France.
In Spain, the government and national companies are planning to add more gas-fired power plants, despite long-term plans to completely switch to non-fossil and renewable energy sources.
There are signs that coal is on its way out entirely, in line with environmental requirements and the climate agreement. This will reduce gas consumption rates when renewable energy alternatives are economically available.
However, the phasing out of gas will be more difficult than removing coal because there are not a large number of European companies working in extracting gas in Europe because of its high cost in terms of extraction, liquefaction and storage.
And since gas is considered a clean and environmentally friendly fuel, it will continue to be imported from Qatar, Russia and America. And Australia, the challenge and price competition will be present to maintain market share.
But by 2050, some pipelines, stations and infrastructure in some European countries will become 'stuck assets when renewable energy alternatives are available.
The significant reduction in the costs of solar energy and wind energy during the coming years and the development of technology in terms of cost and sale will be accompanied by a decrease in the consumption of natural gas.
But it is also worth noting that this reduction in costs did nothing to solve the intermittency problem for these two renewables generation sources and this is probably because the only technologically viable solution to this problem is battery storage that's not cheap anywhere.
Therefore, the world still needs hundreds of billions of LNG shipments to generate power, as well as shipments of oil and its derivatives over the coming years.
The fuel of the future may become hydrogen gas, although as an alternative to gas, mainly for heating. But its production costs are still very high at the present time despite all the optimistic expectations of this promising gas.
And some believe it will never drop low enough to make the only renewable type of hydrogen the only one to use electrolysis economically viable.
Some European countries and China are seeking to develop technology that helps reduce hydrogen production, manufacture and storage, and some European countries, for example, have increased gas consumption by 60% in the demand for natural gas with the phasing out of coal-fired power plants under the pressure of the climate protocol.
Germany is sticking to Nord Stream 2 plans despite the sanctions pressures imposed by the United States because it, too, is gradually removing its coal-fired power plants as well as its nuclear plants, and this strategy is a positive sign of gas demand that will not decline anytime soon, at least until cheap energy storage is being provided for solar, wind, hydrogen and other renewable energy alternatives.
And this is only Europe, and it is on its way to the state of renewable energy at the global level, but it will take time to reach dependence on renewable energy sources, and gas will continue to spread, with high demand until 2037, according to McKinsey. After that, it will stabilise and start to decline, but only moderately.
According to reports, by 2050, demand for oil will decrease by 70% and gas by 0.5% between 2035 and 2050.
This is just too shocking for oil, not LNG.
Shell also believes that natural gas will continue to be essential in a rush to zero emissions or cut emissions.
Projections indicate that global gas demand is rising strongly thanks to Asia, leading to a doubling in demand for LNG alone, from 360mn tonnes last year to 700mn tonnes in 2040 and to 850mn metric tonnes in 2050.
Europe and China seem to have become a little obsessed with their green energy agenda and this has drawn criticism from environmental scientists, but they are still a quiet minority that only has social media as an outlet for their opinions.
Meanwhile, the old continent is fighting its war on fossil fuels and at the same time it continues to rely on this fossil fuel when there is no light to absorb solar panels and it costs other energy alternatives, which is what that has happened in Germany for several days this year and when a fleet of turbines was hit.
British offshore winds have dried up for several years and the power generated from these turbines has decreased.
* Saad Abdulla al-Kuwari is an expert in oil and gas and is exploring the future of energy.
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