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6 June 2011, Petroleum Economist

Natural gas will play a greater role in the global energy mix, according to a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Monday. The new report, titled "Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas?" examines the key factors that could result in a more prominent role for natural gas in the global energy mix, and the implications for other fuels, energy security and climate change. The 128-page report presents a scenario in which global use of gas rises by more than 50 percent from 2010 levels and accounts for more than a quarter of global energy demand by 2035. However, the report also strikes a cautious note on the climate benefits of such an expansion, noting that an increased share of gas in the global energy mix is far from enough on its own to put the world on a carbon emissions path consistent with a global temperature rise of no more than 2 degrees Celsius.

6 June 2011, NHK, Japan

The International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday warned that gas is "not a panacea" for the worlds energy needs as supply is still vulnerable to disruptions. Although gas produces only half the emissions of other fossil fuels, the IEA believes that over-dependence on the energy source would mean the world misses its targets of keeping the rise in world temperatures to below two degrees Celsius. It warns that extra emphasis on gas should not crowd out renewable sources, such as wind power.

6 June 2011, Vedomosti, Russia

“Natural gas markets are becoming more global and regional prices are expected to show signs of increased convergence, but the market does not become truly globalised,” the International Energy Agency says in a study titled “Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas?”, part of its forthcoming World Energy Outlook 2011. The price of the commodity in key regions, including much of Europe and Asia, will remain anchored in decades-old practices: long-term contracts indexed to the cost of oil or refined oil products. As such, natural gas prices do not reflect the supply and demand fundamentals for that commodity, but rather those of the oil market. The IEA believes that the regional price gap will have narrowed by 2030, but prices will nonetheless remain far apart. It sees natural gas prices in real terms (adjusted for inflation) at $7 per mBtu in the US, just above $10 in Europe and $12 in Japan. Read the full article on the FT site (registration required).

6 June 2011, Gazeta, Russia

The use of natural gas could rise by more than 50 per cent by 2035 from last year to overtake coal as the second-most used fuel, accounting for more than a quarter of global energy demand by that time, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) launched today in London. However, while the boom in gas usage will help reduce air pollution in many cities, in particular in China, and cut the use of coal, an expansion of gas could lead to a global temperature rise of 3.5°C. The new estimates follow the recent surge in unconventional gas in North America. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, said the world could be entering “a golden age of gas”. The new estimates are based on growing demand for the fuel from China, slowing growth in nuclear power in the wake of the Japanese crisis and an increased production of gas from unconventional sources such as shale. However, Mr Birol said if companies wanted to see a golden age for gas then they would need to come up with “golden standards of practice” in terms of their development of unconventional resources. Read the full article on the FT site (registration required).

6 June 2011, Globe and Mail, Canada

China’s new new policy for gas usage could usher in a golden era for a greater role of natural gas in the global energy mix, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Despite minimal growth in gas-fired power generation in China from 2000 to 2009, its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) reflects a major policy shift, which aims to give gas a much more important role in the broader energy system," the IEA said in a special report entitled Are We Entering A Golden Age of Gas?”, which was released on Monday in London. The new report, part of the World Energy Outlook 2011 series, presented an illustrative "high gas scenario", which incorporates a combination of new factors that will result in a more prominent role for natural gas. These factors are ample availability of gas, which lowers average gas prices, implementation of Chinas policy for gas usage, lower growth of nuclear power and more usage of natural gas in road transportation. As the most important country in shaping the future of energy markets, Chinas energy demand and its exponential economic growth mean that its policy can dramatically affect the trajectory of global gas demand, the report noted.

6 June 2011, The Telegraph

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a special report titled “Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas?” This report presents a scenario in which global use of gas rises by more than 50% from 2010 levels and accounts for more than a quarter of global energy demand by 2035. The new report, which is part of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2011 series, examines the key factors that could result in a more prominent role for natural gas in the global energy mix and the implications for other fuels, energy security and climate change. The report also cautions on the climate benefits of such an expansion, noting that an increased share of gas in the global energy mix is far from enough on its own to put the world on a carbon emissions path consistent with a global temperature rise of no more than 2ºC.

6 June 2011, Financial Times

“The gas industry is facing a historic opportunity, but to realise a golden age for gas, the industry must adopt golden standards for shale gas” says Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at IEA. Proponents of gas consider a switch from coal to gas as all that is need in order to meet EU’s climate target of a 20% reduction. IEA’s ‘golden age of gas’ scenario is not enough to meet the global 2 degree climate target and would put the world on the path to 3.5 degrees. China will be the source of much of the growth in gas use. One of the primary drivers for the expected growth of gas in China is to provide cleaner air in their cities. As there are sources of gas in many locations around the world, in particular after the growth of shale gas, energy security will increase.

31 May 2011, Xinhua News Agency

Global CO2 emissions reached a record high in 2010, according to latest analysis by the International Energy Agency. "Our latest estimates are another wake-up call. The world has edged incredibly close to the level of emissions that should not be reached until 2020 if the 2 degree Celsius target is to be attained," said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA. To achieve the goal of two degrees Celsius limitation, "global energy-related emissions in 2020 must not be greater than 32 Gt. This means that over the next 10 years, emissions must rise less in total than they did between 2009 and 2010," the energy watchdog said in a press release on Monday.

31 May 2011, The Times of India

Global carbon emissions from electricity generation climbed to a record in 2010, led by coal- fired power plants, as growth accelerated in emerging economies, according to the International Energy Agency. Emissions rose to 30.6 gigatons last year, 5 percent higher than the previous record of 29.3 gigatons in 2008, the Paris-based IEA said in a statement yesterday. Carbon output fell in 2009 because of the global financial crisis, the agency said, while China and India led the increase from emerging economies. “Our latest estimates are another wake-up call,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, said, estimating that 80 percent of the projected carbon emissions from the electricity sector in 2020 are already “locked in” due to infrastructure investments already made.

31 May 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek

Energy-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, according to the latest estimates by the International Energy Agency. After a dip in 2009 caused by the global financial crisis, emissions are estimated to have climbed to a record 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt), a 5% jump from the previous record year in 2008, when levels reached 29.3 Gt. "I am very worried. This is the worst news on emissions," IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told “The Guardian”. In addition, the IEA has estimated that 80% of projected emissions from the power sector in 2020 are already locked in, as they will come from power plants that are currently in place or under construction today. “This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2ºC,” Birol said.