Gas – the most obvious climate measure

March 10, 2010 | 00:00

Gas – the most obvious climate measure

A stronger commitment to gas as a source of energy is the fastest, easiest way to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. This was the clear message delivered by chief executive Helge Lund at the CERAWeek conference in Houston in the U.S. on 10 March.

In the keynote address broadcast live on CERAWeek's website, Lund made a strong case for why the oil and gas industry must redouble its efforts to promote the advantages of natural gas.

"Natural gas is the fossil fuel with the lowest carbon emissions. Using gas in power generation represents a good climate strategy with a large potential to reduce emissions," said Lund.

This is the 29th annual CERAWeek conference, gathering around 2,200 participants from 55 countries.

New energy future

Many of the oil and energy sector's leading executives will be addressing the conference, where this year's motto is ”Energy – building a new future”.

Lund is uncertain when a global framework for CO2 emissions will be in place. Nevertheless, he is convinced that pressure on the oil and gas industry to contribute to this process will intensify – both because the industry is considered a part of the problem and because it has the technology and the financial resources to find solutions.

"Technology advances best when you have competitive companies working on concrete projects," said Lund.

He believes that the industry will have a better chance of finding profitable technology solutions if the price of carbon is set sufficiently high, either through emissions trading or by introducing a global tax on carbon.

Lund also advocated introducing national regulations in the U.S. to promote CO2-efficient energy production.

Reliable energy source

Since 2002, Statoil's business activities in the U.S. have shown marked growth. Statoil is currently the third largest deep water player in the Gulf of Mexico, and has also carved out a foothold for shale gas production in the Marcellus area in the northeastern part of the U.S.

Lund believes that, over the longer term, shale gas will be a reliable domestic energy source for the U.S. energy sector.

"Gas is a climate measure that is available now and will both create jobs and reduce emissions. I hear many talk about the benefits of gas, but now there is a need to move from talk to action," said Lund.

In his keynote address, Lund emphasized the company's three other focus areas for climate measures – carbon-efficient production, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and renewable energy.

"We have chosen a proactive approach to climate change – not for social responsibility purposes, but because we think it will be a key differentiating factor in future competition," said Lund.

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