Shale boom, Asia demand to dominate global gas conference

Sun Jun 3, 2012 9:34pm EDT
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By Florence Tan and Charlie Zhu

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (Reuters) - The impact of growing gas supplies on the global energy landscape and the prospect of deeper declines in Iranian oil exports as Western sanctions bite will dominate talks at a gas conference next week in Malaysia.

The World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur takes place this year in the heart of the Asian region, where energy hungry economies such as China and Japan are driving rising gas demand. The same countries are wrestling with how to ensure short-term oil supplies if the flow from Iran is disrupted.

Global gas demand could rise by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2035 and account for a quarter of the world's energy mix, overtaking coal to become the second-largest primary energy source after oil, the International Energy Agency has projected.

The world is also seeing cheap new shale gas supplies from the United States, which could compete on world markets with traditional suppliers of liquefied natural gas, such as Australia and Qatar.

Oil executives, regulators and industry experts will also discuss how to exploit potentially massive shale gas reserves in China, as well as big gas finds in East Africa and other places such as offshore Israel.

Growth in gas trapped in shale formations in the United States and China over the next 20 years could match gains made in conventional gas in Russia, the Middle East and North Africa combined, the IEA has said.

"The geopolitical implications of that are enormous," Noel Tomnay, head of global gas research at Wood Mackenzie said. "How do you monetize all this extra gas from the United States?"

Besides exporting coal, the United States will export LNG, oil products and perhaps even crude oil in the next 10 to 15 years, he added.   Continued...