World Energy Outlook 2011: Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas?
The factors that drive natural gas demand and supply increasingly point to a future in which natural gas plays a greater role in the global energy mix. Global uncertainties afflicing the energy sector can be seen as opportunities for natural gas. When replacing other fossil-fuels, natural gas can lead to lower emissions of greenhouse gases and local pollutants. It can help to diversify energy supply, and so improve energy security. It can provide the flexibility and back-up capacity needed as more variable capacity comes online in power generation. Gas is a particularly attractive fuel for regions, such as China, India, and the Middle East, which are urbanising and seeking to satisfy rapid growth in energy demand. These are the very regions that will largely determine the extent to which gas use expans over the next quarter of a century.
The Golden Age of Gas Scenario (GAS Scenario), departing from the WEO-2010 New Policies Scenario – our base case – incorporates a combination of new assumptions that underpin a more positive future outlook for gas. These are implementation by China of an ambitious policy for gas use, lower growth of nuclear power and more use of natural gas in road transport. Ample availability of gas, much of it unconventional gas, keeps average gas prices below the levels assumed in WEO-2010.