Gas ‘indispensible’ in mitigating climate change: GECF
Natural gas is an ‘indispensable’ part of the global energy mix needed to limit the impact of climate change and protect the environment, the Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) said.
In a communique following the GECF’s 5th Gas Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the forum said natural gas is of “vital importance” to ensure global energy security.
The summit declaration acknowledges the “indispensable contribution of natural gas to the protection of the environment and, in particular, for mitigating and adapting to climate change.”
The GECF is made up of the world’s biggest gas exporters including the big hitters Russia, Qatar and Iran and holds around 60% of the world’s proven gas reserves. Although often referred to loosely as the “Gas OPEC’, the forum is more of an advisory body rather than one that takes collective policy action.
The comments come amid an emerging ground-swell of climate concerns over fast-growing global gas consumption as part of a push to sideline fossil fuels in favor of clean, renewable energy.
Natural gas has emerged as the fasted growing fossil fuel in recent years, accounting for 45% of the rise in energy consumption in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency. Led by China and the Middle East, the IEA sees global demand for natural gas growing more than four times faster than demand for oil over the next two decades.
The GEFC said it wants to further promote the use of natural gas as an “environmentally-friendly” transport fuel including for global shipping.
In the declaration, the GECF also reiterated its “deep concern” about the extra-territorial application of laws and regulations, and its objection to unilateral economic sanctions in the gas sector, particularly against its member countries.
In 2017, the US passed a new sanctions law that gave President Donald Trump the power to impose measures against companies investing in Russian energy export infrastructure.
The GECF also reiterated a pledge to promote the use of long-term contracts and stick with the pursuance of oil-linked pricing despite a growing trend in the global gas industry for shorter-term and spot gas buying.
Despite speculation over the past decade that the GECF could morph into a “Gas OPEC” with the power to manage markets through supply intervention, the group has insisted its role is to promote gas and encourage cooperation.