The Growing Importance of Natural Gas
The demand for primary energy is ever growing.
As the world struggles to find new sources of energy it is clear that the Fossil fuels will continue to play a dominant role in the foreseeable future .Within the hydrocarbon family the fastest growing hydrocarbon is Natural gas. Most estimates put the average rate of growth of 1.5-2.0%.
Let us examine the reasons why Natural Gas is so popular.
Many environmentalists view natural gas as a natural bridge fuel between the dominant fossil fuels of today and the renewable fuels of tomorrow. For a given amount of heat energy, burning natural gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, as burning coal. Since one of the primary consumption of natural gas is as a source for electrical generation & it is increasingly becoming popular because it burns cleaner than oil and coal and produces less greenhouse gases. This ability of natural gas raises the possibility that it could emerge as a critical transition fuel that could help to battle global warming.
In nature Natural gas is much more in abundance than Oil. Most oil economists put the Natural gas reserves at least 50% higher than Oil reserves at the current consumption rates. At present Natural gas reserves are estimated to last in excess of 60 yrs whereas Oil reserves are estimated at 40 odd years. In the US, over the last few years approximately 1800Tcf of Natural gas reserves have been discovered, bringing the total reserves to approximately 3000Tcf. Even for the US, which is the world’s biggest gas market, this represents almost 100 years of supply. The discovery of unconventional gas and, in particular, ‘Shale Gas” is perceived by many to be a game changer.
At one point in the past, Natural Gas used to be a regionally based fuel, frequently flared off in oil fields because it was of little use, but now with the creation of pipelines and LNG, it is now fast becoming a major international commodity.