Technology and the Prospects for Natural Gas

Rogner H-H (1988). Technology and the Prospects for Natural Gas. IIASA Research Report (Reprint). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-88-004. Reprinted from Energy Policy, 16(1):9-26 [February 1988].

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Abstract

In most long-term energy analysis, the role of natural gas in future energy supplies has been inextricably bound to the prevailing outlook for oil. More often than not energy policy levied to oil issues was automatically extended to natural gas. Consequently, the economic and environmental aspects of natural gas at the consumer's end of the energy chain have been clouded by the resource outlook for oil as well as the uncertainties and volatility of the international oil market.

The resource prospects for natural gas change drastically once viewed independently, i.e., not through the traditional oil window. First of all, natural gas resources are not restricted by the geological conditions suitable to contain oil (and gas), so-called sediments. In fact, natural gas has been increasingly found in geological formations where -- because of temperature and pressure conditions -- no oil deposits exist. Still, the major additions to the gas reserve base discovered over the last decade or so have primarily occurred as a result of the search for oil. Despite this limitation in the scope of natural gas exploration (oil window), the global resource base grew four times faster than gas consumption. With advanced exploration and drilling technologies -- combined with the latest data processing and evaluation techniques -- coming on stream, the resource outlook for natural gas from conventional and nonconventional geological formations becomes even brighter.

Because of the traditional comprehension of gas equals oil and thus the mistaken understanding of, in the short run, resource constrained natural gas supplies, many advantages of natural gas as an efficient, clean, and environmentally benign fuel have not been fully appreciated. In particular, post-1973 energy policy banned natural gas from the electricity generating sector in many parts of the world. However, technical progress in the field of gas turbine technology has improved the performance characteristics of natural gas as a fuel for electricity generation by more than a factor of two over the last 15 years or so. Consequently, gas lends itself as an economically competitive alternative to coal and, to a certain extent, to nuclear power. Increased reliance on natural gas also mitigates all environmental problems associated with the use of fossil fuels (SO2, NOx, CO2 and particulates).

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report (Reprint))
Research Programs: Environmentally Compatible Energy Strategies (ECS)
Bibliographic Reference: Reprinted from Energy Policy; 16(1):9-26 [February 1988]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:58
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2016 11:34
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/3078

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