Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shell Vocal in Support of Natural Gas

Natural gas has “a key role” to play if the UK is to meet its energy challenges over the short to medium-term and offers “great potential” for providing a low-cost pathway to secure, clean electricity, according to the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell.
Peter Voser sets out his views on Tuesday in a speech to the Oil and Money conference in London. Natural gas, he will say, is important to the UK for three reasons: supplies are more abundantly available than in the past; new natural gas power plants are less costly and easier to build than any other source of electricity; and the environmental benefits of natural gas as a source of electricity are substantial and immediate.
Mr Voser’s comments echo those of other industry executives. The UK faces numerous problems in relation to its energy supply. Nearly half of its installed power generation capacity faces either closure or upgrading over the next 10 to 15 years. The government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent by 2020. Renewable energy should supply 15 per cent of the UK’s total energy demand by 2020.
Natural gas is still the key fuel for heating UK homes. Britain would have to import more natural gas from overseas than ever before, National Grid said in its annual winter outlook report on the state of the country’s energy supplies last week. About 55 per cent of the gas used to heat homes and businesses this winter will need to be imported, the highest level on record.
The UK is expected to import more liquefied natural gas this winter than before, National Grid adds.The shale boom in the United States has freed for other markets liquefied natural gas supplies that were originally destined for America.
According to Mr Voser, natural gas has the benefit of being cost competitive, a key measure at a time when government budgets are under strain. He will argue that governments should commit to carbon capture and storage projects to help cut carbon dioxide emissions.
“A greater reliance on natural gas would cut greenhouse gas emissions and buy society time to make a less expensive transition to new nuclear and offshore wind electricity generation,” he will say.

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