Abundant, flexible & cheap to store: Improving gas advocacy in Europe

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Mark Simons, Head of Sales Optimisation, Total
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Natural gas is expected to become the fastest-growing fuel globally by 2040, with a demand rise of more than 55%, as reported by the International Energy Agency, between 2010 and 2040. Bringing numerous benefits, it is important the gas industry must truly promote the opportunities gas brings.

Interested to learn more about how gas players can promote gas in the decarbonising world, Gastech Insights spoke with Mark Simons, Head of Trading Project at Total and Governing Body Member for the 2018 European Autumn Gas Conference.

Gastech Insights: When it comes to pricing, what will the increase in LNG mean for the market?

Mark Simons: LNG supplies have been increasing rapidly in the last few years and will continue to do so, however gas prices have proved to be remarkably resilient. Rising coal and oil prices, declining gas flexibility, declining European indigenous production and rising gas demand have and will continue to keep gas prices robust during winters, especially cold ones. Yet gas prices are likely to come under pressure during summers, as LNG cargoes compete to find buyers.

Gastech Insights: Is there a sufficient understanding of what Blockchain is in the industry and if not, how should this be tackled?

Mark Simons: In energy trading blockchain and distributed ledger technology has the potential to make energy contract settlement and payment between companies faster, cheaper and more efficient. It will only fulfil its potential if the main market participants work together to agree standardised systems and processes. However, blockchain technology is likely to lead to evolution, rather than the revolution that AI could bring.

Gastech Insights: How can industry players promote the use of gas in a decarbonising world?

Mark Simons: Gas advocacy is a subject that the gas industry has struggled with for years. Gas’ carbon content is always going to be difficult to justify versus renewables, however, I believe there are very strong arguments in favour of gas that the industry should focus on articulating. Gas is abundant, flexible, cheap to store and cleaner than coal. For these reasons, it is very complimentary to the inflexible energy from wind and solar.

Gastech Insights: What is your view on the union of gas and renewables as the future for Europe’s energy mix?

Mark Simons: Nuclear capacity is fairly static, coal is in decline so the union of gas and renewables is the only option for Europe's future energy mix. This mix will remain in place until seasonal power storage becomes economic and universally deployable.

Gastech Insights: Why should industry players attend the 2018 European Autumn Gas Conference?

Mark Simons: The EAGC is an event I have attended since 2010. It is a great opportunity to broaden one's network and keep up to date with what is happening in the gas and wider energy industry.  It is also in Berlin, one of my favourite cities and a key European hub for innovators and start-ups.

If you would like to hear more on innovation within Europe's gas market by top industry experts and leaders, register for the European Autumn Gas Conference, 7-9 November in Berlin.