IOGP: Underlining the importance of gas in the European energy mix

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Chris Hawkes, Safety Director, International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP)
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The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) provides a significant proportion of the world’s energy to meet growing demands for heat, light and transport.

With the European Autumn Gas Conference (EAGC) taking place in Milan this November, Gastech Insights spoke to Safety Director at IOGP, Chris Hawkes to learn how the IOGP are helping the gas industry develop and how Europe can move towards a more sustainable energy system.  

Gastech Insights: What are the key economic and legal changes that the European gas industry is facing to move towards a move sustainable energy system?

Chris Hawkes: Europe is moving towards a low carbon future and some of that is through legislation as well as through other means such as carbon pricing and carbon taxation. Gas has a future in this new energy mix as a partner for renewable energies. Switching from coal to gas reduces CO2 emissions through electricity generation by around 50%, so having gas as partner for the variabilities in renewable energy makes it a much better mix than a coal powered electricity station.

Gas can come online quicker than other generation sources so the peak demand can be taken up by gas much quicker.

Gastech Insights: How does the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers help the gas industry develop and continue to be an essential part of Europe’s energy mix?

Chris Hawkes: IOGP is working constantly to underline the importance of gas within the EU. We are promoting the importance of gas in the European energy mix as we believe that it is a natural partner for renewable energy and we are advocating very strongly in the European parliament that this is a viable alternative to coal.

Gastech Insights: What needs to be done and improved to standardise safety across the EU?

Chris Hawkes: A huge amount has already been done around safety in the offshore oil and gas industries and in the upstream oil and gas industry in general. The offshore safety directive has brought together regulators, operators and service providers to work collaboratively in improving safety standards.

The other thing that is having a good effect is standardisation. The ‘Step Change for Safety’ initiative is leading an effort to standardise the way safety is practiced on all offshore oil platforms and that is supported by UK regulators.

Gastech Insights: If you could implement anything to advance the gas industry in Europe, what would it be?

Chris Hawkes: Firstly, I would encourage further exploration and production as there’s more potential in the North Sea, Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Encouraging and evolving exploration and production in those areas would open up the energy mix and the supply available as well as replacing the declining output that we have from existing sources.

The second thing is looking at the energy and gas markets particularly around its partnership with renewables. Encouraging the use of gas over coal and incentivising the use of gas over coal will inspire the market to think about the alternatives.  

Gastech Insights: What do you enjoy most about attending the EAGC?

Chris Hawkes: At the EAGC, the content is excellent and every year there is a high quality in speakers, presentations and discussions. We enjoy coming year on year because of the face to face interaction and networking you get with other players in the industry.

Share your insights and join the conversation: Do you agree with Mr Hawkes regarding what needs to be done to standardise safety across the EU? Leave your comment below.

The EACG provides you with an exclusive opportunity to gain insight into the changing dynamics of the European gas market. Register for EAGC 2017 and view the complete programme.

Image courtesy of IOGP