Majors including Shell Plc and BP Plc have boosted their proportion of gas output in recent years, helping them trim Exxon Mobil Corp.’s lead as the world’s most valuable oil company. Meanwhile Chevron Corp. added two giant Australian liquefied natural gas projects and Exxon is punching back with two major projects of its own, in Papua New Guinea and Mozambique.
Natural gas, seen as a clean bridge from coal to renewables, offers the best long-term demand growth among fossil fuels, particularly in its easy-to-transport liquefied form. At the same time, gas exploration comes with high upfront costs and long payback periods. How the majors handle those issues will become key drivers for success moving forward.
"We see the market growing rapidly, with gas demand growing faster than overall energy demand," said Steve Hill, executive vice president for gas trading at Shell, the world’s biggest LNG producer. "We don’t see renewables as being a threat to gas."
Industry heavyweights and officials from LNG trading nations -- including Qatar, Japan, South Korea and Australia -- will discuss global gas dynamics at the World Gas Conference in Washington D.C. starting Tuesday. The meeting is in the U.S. for the first time in 30 years, reflecting America’s shale-prodded gas clout.