Walters joined a group of industry leaders to address a global gas plenary on “The Role of Natural Gas in the Future Energy Mix.” He noted that despite the effects of the recent economic downturn, the long-term outlook for natural gas is positive. “We expect global energy demand to increase nearly 30 percent in the next 20 years. By 2030, global gas demand will be around 140 billion cubic feet per day higher than 2009,” he said.
The major driver of this demand is power generation, which will account for more than half of the gas demand growth, Walters said. He also emphasized the environmental benefits of natural gas as a source of power generation. “Natural gas is a cleaner burning source of fuel and power generation that over the next 20 years will continue to form an increasingly important role in the global energy mix. This can be attributed to its advantages of lower carbon emissions and greater flexibility into power generation.”
Walters noted that greater development of natural gas resources provides an environmentally friendly way to meet growing energy demand that could also play a key role in the global economic recovery. However, he said, its future success depends on public policies which promote and support this development. “To stimulate new investments at the lowest cost to society, we need reliable, open markets and investment frameworks that consider and allow unbiased use of all economic alternatives to reduce CO2 emissions. This means avoiding mandates that prevent use of the most economic options or unfairly disadvantage an otherwise economic energy resource. It also means letting free markets work through stable and sensible policies and allowing natural gas to compete on a truly level playing field.”