20 Haziran 2011 Pazartesi

A new ‘golden age’ in energy

Gila Benmayor       Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review

We are entering a phase where interesting developments are being experienced in the world energy market.
Before moving on to the world, first, one piece of news from Turkey.

The Nabucco Natural Gas Pipeline Project, which has not been appearing on the press for a long time, is preparing to come back on the agenda next week on Wednesday with an agreement to be signed in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.

The fact that European Union Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger and Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar will participate at the signing ceremony, which will be held between the energy ministers of those transit countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Hungary) that the natural gas pipeline will pass and Nabucco companies, is a sign of the huge significance Nabucco holds for both Europe and the U.S.

Nabucco’s signing ceremony coincides with the exact period where the world of energy has turned its eyes on natural gas.

Because, now, the oil giants will focus on natural gas rather than oil.

According to the information I gained from the CEO of Shell Germany I met up with recently, Dr. Peter Blauwhoff, Shell is going to invest in natural gas more than oil.

Chief economist of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol says other oil giants Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total and BP will also follow Shell.

Escape from nuclear
Birol names this development as the “golden age of natural gas.”

What is the reason of this “golden age,” which emerged as “a huge opportunity” for Turkey because of pipelines passing though its soil?

As Dr. Blauwhoff has mentioned, first of all it is the escape from the nuclear.

While Turkey is preparing to launch its “nuclear venture,” we have learned Germany and Switzerland are preparing to leave nuclear gradually.

The fall of the nuclear has resulted in the rise of the coal and natural gas.
But coal causes high carbon emission.

While the world is proceeding fast at “green energy,” nobody should expect the focus on coal to increase when its carbon emission is 50 to 70 percent higher than natural gas.

For this reason, Dr. Blauwhoff says, “In coming years, natural gas will play the leading role in Europe’s energy need.”

Another reason Fatih Birol believes the oil giants are heading toward natural gas is the fact that their existing oil fields are old.

New oil fields in the Middle East and North Africa, however, are closed to these companies.

Findings of Mehmet Öğütçü
One of British Gas directors, Dr. Mehmet Öğütçü, who is competing for the general secretary post of International Energy Forum, the biggest international energy organization with its 86 member countries, is also pointing at natural gas.

According to Dr. Öğütçü, among the reasons why this fuel enters the stage as the chief actor while natural gas was not frequently mentioned 15 to 20 years ago is that costs of pipelines have decreased and liquefied natural gas has become competitive.

Indeed, one of the most important reasons of these developments in the energy market is the commercialization of North America’s “shale gas.”

Because of shale gas, the United States today is no longer importing natural gas.

Thus, there is excess LNG, in other words liquefied natural gas in the market and its prices have come down also.

This feature that Öğütçü is pointing at is also important:
Natural gas is more widespread in the world compared to oil, that is to say, it is not only in one or two clusters but from North America to Africa and Australia, and it is possible to come across this fuel.

The world reserve of natural gas is 172 trillion cubic meters.

With this new “golden age” starting in energy, there are new opportunities emerging for Turkey because of the route of pipelines.


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