Shell: Natural gas uniquely positioned as the next big thing
KUALA LUMPUR—As energy demand surges in Asian megacities like Metro Manila amid economic and population growth, natural gas is poised to be the next big thing in the industry, experts said at the Shell Malaysia Innovation Summit 2013.
Shell estimates show that first LNG shipments to the Philippines and Vietnam will push through within the decade, following current trends in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, as regional demand for this fuel surges.
“As populations congregate in cities, governments must provide the right infrastructure to encourage smarter planning and the use of cleaner energy,” Royal Dutch Shell EVP Maarten Wetselaar said.
Wetselaar noted that one of Shell’s programs involved unlocking opportunities in natural gas applications for transport.
“Energy demand is set to double (by 2050 from 2000 levels) and the role of natural gas is set to grow in the energy mix,” he said.
Given the environmental concern on hydrocarbons such as crude oil, the current limits of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar, and the backlash against nuclear power in areas like Japan due mainly to the Fukushima incident, natural gas is “uniquely positioned” to be the next big thing in energy, he said.
In the Philippines, the Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport aims to promote the utilization of compressed natural gas (CNG) in the transport sector in consonance with the goal of ensuring fuel supply diversification and supply security. Primarily geared for the utilization of Malampaya gas deposit in offshore Palawan, the government is also looking to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a long-term measure to sustain the use of CNG, a relatively clean-burning hydrocarbon.
A joint undertaking between the Philippine government and the private sector, the technologically innovative Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project led by the Department of Energy was developed and operated by Shell Philippines Exploration, B.V. (SPEX) on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp.
United Nations data indicate that the world population is growing by 200,000 people a day and will reach 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion today. The boom will be concentrated in Asian cities, where incomes and energy consumption are on the rise. Energy experts say people need energy at work or in business to move out of poverty and they will demand more as they buy their first air conditioners, televisions and computers.
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