There are also signs that gas production is going backward in the US as gas prices plummet.
DNV GL CEO Elisabeth Torstad has told delegates at an International Gas Union that gas offers the greatest benefits for the foreseeable future, and when planning for the next 30 years the fuel’s producers should play an important role to meet high energy demands while economies develop scalable renewables and a low-carbon infrastructure.
“The challenge is to ensure that gas can help solve the ‘energy trilemma’ by being available, affordable and clean,” she said.
In addition to the huge market for gas as a relatively clean source of power generation, DNV GL sees a potential for growth in transportation.
“Small-scale LNG plants and capturing natural gas from, for example, flaring operations will make gas an even more affordable and cleaner solution and help it to take a key role in the coming years,” she added.
As an energy carrier, gas can be combined with renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, that provides a variable amount of energy.
Gas can balance and stabilise the energy supply and thus help to increase the percentage of renewable energy in the grid, but there are more routes that must be investigated and developed and there are more obstacles that must be overcome, such as the high global use of coal, Torstad said.
“Collaboration, smart technology development and the right regulatory and political frameworks are required if we are to advance forcefully on the pathway towards a sustainable energy mix and a more solid platform for gas.
“We challenge industry and the authorities to ensure investment in innovative research and development to increase energy efficiency and minimize emissions.
“DNV GL invests 5% of its annual revenue in R&D, even during the current tough market conditions, and we are committed to contributing to the sustainable development of the industries we engage in.”
But in the US, as more rigs are stacked, gas production is slipping.
Natural gas production in the Lower 48 United States averaged 71.3 billion cubic feet per day in November, which is down about 0.46Bcfpd, compared to the October average, according to analytics and forecasting unit Platts Bentek.
Northeast pipeline expansions underperformed. They were supposed to be the primary growth driver of production for the US, but the wave of new expansions that were brought online in November did not ramp up as quickly as expected.
Weaker demand, near-capacity storage fields, maintenance, and construction delays contributed to the underperformance of the projects.
All other regions were down, with the suggestion that producers are chocking back production due to the depressed pricing environment.
But that could change if a cold winter hits.
The Platts Bentek data analysis suggests 2015 US natural gas production will average some 72Bcfpd, with more growth still expected through the end of the year.
Such would mark a year-on-year growth of 3Bcfpd over 2014.