Natural Gas: Friend or Foe?

The New York City Council is considering a ban on natural gas in new buildings: If implemented, new buildings can offer only electricity for heat and cooking. Long-term, New York plans to discontinue using fossil fuels to generate power.

Meanwhile, Europe continues to face natural gas shortages that have spiked energy prices to record highs and the European Union is considering labelling gas-fired power plants as a green investment in efforts to reach climate goals.

 For years there have been two fundamentally conflicting narratives about the future of oil & gas:

  • Oil & gas can and must go as soon as possible
  • Realities of consumer demand and economic necessity

Industry Perspective: Ready, Set, Slow

At the World Petroleum Congress, industry executives reiterated that currently there are no large-scale replacements for petroleum, natural gas, and coal.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nassar said the world must face three main realities: renewables aren’t ready, the developing world cannot transition at the same pace as the developed world, and oil and gas will be essential for decades.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo called obstructing development of new oil supplies “misguided,” warning that this will hurt poor and developing countries.

Chevron CEO Mike Wirth commented that “Oil and gas continue to play a central role in meeting the world’s energy needs and we play an essential role in delivering them in a lower carbon way.” He added, “Our products make the world run.”

Author and oil expert Daniel Yergin of IHS Markit said, “Underinvesting in oil and gas before renewables and other low-carbon technologies are ready to scale up to meet energy demand could create recurrent energy crises of the kind we saw in Asia and Europe over the last few months.” He added this could create severe economic consequences and social unrest.

Achieving Energy Independence: 1970s Lesson

The term “energy crisis” entered the American lexicon in the 1970s not because there was insufficient oil and natural gas, but because U.S. consumers lacked sufficient access, jolting the U.S. out of energy complacency.

Government financial incentives and technological support enabled the industry to create the “shale revolution” in 2005, allowing two extraordinary changes in the U.S. energy system. First, an immediate boost in natural gas production. Second, a natural gas market price independent of oil.

Natural gas restored U.S. energy security – providing ample fuel, access, and efficient distribution that have propelled the U.S. forward as other nations struggle to meet their energy needs.

What Are the Options?

Around the world, fossil fuels continue to be essential to meeting the energy needs of the modern word. Natural gas has the potential to provide clean, affordable energy to the world and the U.S. is positioned to lead the way with its wealth of natural resources and extraction expertise.

With advances in monitoring technology, fugitive emissions can be identified and eliminated, enabling “certified” clean natural gas to become the new standard and lead the way to a green energy future. BioSqueeze® can help operators ensure their production is free of fugitive emissions, using natural biocementation that restores rock to its previous strength and seals even the smallest leakage pathways.

Globally, the right questions are finally being asked as aspirational climate goals and objectives collide with the wants and needs of 7.9 billion people.

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