At the 10th ASCOPE Conference & Exhibition, Duncan van Bergen, General Manager of Global Gas and LNG Market Development at Royal Dutch Shell, told more than 300 policy makers and business representatives that natural gas can form a secure and sustainable energy future for Asia.
Speaking on the theme of “Innovation and Cooperation – the Way Forward”, Mr Van Bergen said: “Shell believes that natural gas is the responsible energy choice to fuel the growth in Asia. As a leader in the natural gas industry, Shell has proven its unique position through its scale, customer intimacy, and innovation, and we continue to drive gas growth through integrated value chains.”
Asia’s economic and population boom, as well as its surge in energy demand, will be set against a background of a growing global population and rapid urbanisation.
Every day, the world’s population increases by 200,000 people, and this is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion today. In Southeast Asia, the urban population has almost doubled in the two last decades: around 44% of the population are living in urban areas, and this proportion will continue to rise by two-thirds until 2050.
At the same time, the world has entered an era of unprecedented progress and prosperity. Over the coming decades, tens of millions of people will gain access to hospitals, public transportation and reliable electricity. Millions more will buy their first cars, televisions and refrigerators.
These trends will put immense pressure on policy makers to meet the demand in power generation. By 2020, Shell expects electricity consumption to have increased by between 25% and 35% compared to 2012.
Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, will be confronted with a formidable challenge to meet the region’s growing appetite for energy. Meeting the energy needs of Vietnam’s 90 million people will be a challenge, particularly in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Ha Noi. According to a survey* Shell Vietnam commissioned in June 2013, more than two-thirds of respondents rated future energy needs as an important issue, with more than 60% believing that the government has the biggest role to play in creating a better energy future.
Policy makers will be confronted with a myriad of possible energy choices based on a number of factors including secure, reliable, diverse and flexible supplies, cost and competitiveness, environmental impact and health. At Shell, we believe that even with rapid growth of renewable energy sources, we expect fossil fuels to continue to meet around 65% of energy demand by 2050.
Natural gas is uniquely positioned to address the challenges faced by policy makers. It is abundant with global gas resources growing and increasingly diverse: the International Energy Agency estimates more than 250 years at current consumption rates. Natural gas is also acceptable with modern natural gas plants emitting significantly less than half the CO2, and 1/10 the sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulates, and heavy metals compared to coal-fired power plants.
“The right government policies will be critical to meeting Southeast Asia’s energy challenge. The first priority must be to tackle the region’s urban pollution crisis. The Chinese government recently released its air pollution action plan, where it sets out plans for limiting coal use and addressing vehicle emissions.
The introduction of air quality standards throughout the region would be an important step in the right direction. A second policy goal is the removal of fossil fuel subsidies. According to the IEA, fossil-fuel subsidy subsidies in Southeast Asia amounted to $51 billion in 2012. Removing them can encourage investments in energy infrastructure and stimulate improvements in energy efficiency and renewable deployment.” said Mr Van Bergen.
Realizing the benefits of natural gas will require the close and keen cooperation of many stakeholders, including governments and the industry. Specifically for Southeast Asia, there is a real opportunity to ensure that cleaner and reliable sources of fuel, such as natural gas, continue at the very forefront of energy policy in Southeast-Asia.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Quyen Anh Tuyet
Communication Manager, Shell Vietnam.
Telephone number: +84907979752
Email Address: Quyen-Anh.Tuyet@shell.com
* The survey in Vietnam was named “Future Energy Survey”, aiming to collecting Vietnamese citizens’ opinions about their future energy. The survey was conducted in: Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Da Nang and Can Tho with around 600 respondents.