The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is supporting the EU’s intention to consider gas as a sustainable source of energy under the new green labelling system.
This was announced by HE Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General of the association of 19 leading gas-exporting countries while speaking as a keynote at the 8th Session of the Group of Experts on Gas of UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe).
Sentyurin added that the Forum hopes the European Parliament and the EU Member States will support the sustainability rating of natural gas when they are due to discuss this next month.
“GECF believes that all UNECE member States should recognise the use of gas, especially in cases where the gas technology replaces higher-emitting power sources and can cut emissions,” said HE Sentyurin.
The UNECE’s Group of Experts on Gas is a high-level policy consultation body to empower and inform the work of UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy. At present, UNECE boasts 56 member States in Europe, North America and Asia, including Russia and the US – two members that are expected to provide it with up to 70% of gas production by 2050.
Citing the latest available figures available from the GECF Global Gas Outlook 2050, Sentyurin noted that natural gas supply in the UNECE region will increase at an annual average growth rate of 0.8%, representing an overall increase of 29%, climbing from 2,320 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2019 to around 3,000 bcm in 2050.
“The UNECE region will be responsible for 18% of the total gas demand growth through to 2050. Despite ambitious decarbonisation targets in many UNECE members, natural gas will retain a critical role in region’s energy mix, being the most resilient hydrocarbon resource,” added HE Sentyurin.
The 8th edition of the Group of Experts on Gas session noted that the UNECE region is falling short of its commitments and objectives on sustainable energy. The Group concluded that its key contribution to achieving these objectives could be in two areas: (a) deep transformation of the energy system; and (b) reducing the environmental impact of energy.
Natural gas, it was asserted, should begin to be seen as beyond a fuel, and as a vector of energy transition including, notably, hydrogen and bio-gas.
Francisco de la Flor Garcia, Chair of the Group of Experts on Gas: “A (UN) General Assembly resolution adopted on 21 Dec 2020 recognised the key role that natural gas plays in many countries and calls upon governments to enhance energy security through sharing of best practices in security of gas supply and demand. I interpret this resolution as a clear mandate for our continued work.”
Other areas that came under discussion were best practices in methane management in the gas sector, decarbonisation through synergies between gas and electricity, hydrogen, sustainable production and consumption of gas and liquefied natural gas, and gas in transport.
The Group recommended that reducing pollution levels and improving air quality will be tied to factors such as:
- Improved access to natural gas supply
- Improved monitoring and remediation of methane losses
- Upgrade of bus fleets with natural gas-powered buses
- Cleaning marine transport by developing LNG bunkering in city harbours