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How gas is adapting to markets and technologies

Gas turbine power plant in eastern of Thailand
Nicholas Newman Flame September 2017

The last decade has seen dramatic changes in the global gas market, because of the arrival of new supplies, challenges, and technological solutions.

For instance, the global gas glut has encouraged new opportunities to occur in the transport, petrochemical and power generation sectors. In addition, advances in new technologies have created new opportunities, at various scales, for gas to work together with renewables in meeting the world’s power generation needs. This feature takes a look at some of these developments.

There Is a Dash for Gas

The shale gas revolution in the US, alongside increased output of LNG in Australia and Qatar combined to cause a supply glut, making gas widely affordable and accessible. In the US, investors are building at least eight such cracker and polyethylene plants, to capitalise on cheap shale gas. One such investor is Shell’s developing a new plant in Pennsylvania, USA. Whilst chemical giant INEOS is importing US ethanol, a derivative of shale gas, as a feedstock for facility in Grangemouth Scotland as well as other plants across Europe.

New Markets for Gas

The increasing availability of cheap gas, whether delivered by pipeline or by virtual gas systems in the form of LNG or CNG has opened new markets and increased market penetration for gas producers. MaltaJamaica and the French departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe have recently begun importing gas for power to displace expensive and polluting diesel.

In the US, the increasing availability of cheaper shale gas has allowed to displace ‘King Coal’ in the power sector, pushing it into second place. Nationally, gas dominates with a market share of 33% against 30.4% for coal, according to the EIA. However, in particular states including New York and Virginia, the share of natural gas in power generation is even higher. Likewise, India is expected to increase imports of gas four-fold, as demand for power increases, with economic development.

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