(EnergyAsia, June 24 2011, Friday) — The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects natural gas to overtake coal as the world’s leading fuel source by 2030 on its way to contributing 25% of the global energy mix by 2035.

Speaking to a Singapore audience this week, Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, said natural gas will grow in importance amid global uncertainties including geopolitical upheavals and rising oil prices.

Dr Fatih was the second expert invited to Singapore under the Energy Market Authority (EMA)’s Distinguished Speaker Programme.

With global energy demand growing 36% by 2035, Dr Birol said the world needs to urgently diversify its energy mix as oil prices, with Brent still above US$110 a barrel, had entered the “danger zone”.

The world is hostage to the increasingly politically unstable Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region which is expected to account for 90% of the net global increase in oil production till 2020.

Dr Fatih said that any investment deferment resulting from further political upheavals could have negative implications for global energy security.

Dr Fatih’s speech, “A Glimpse into the Energy Future”, before an audience of more than 350 professionals from the industry, government and academia, offered an advance release of the scenario to be outlined in the IEA’s upcoming World Energy Outlook 2011 due later this year.

While coal remains the backbone of global electricity generation, natural gas resources exceed 75 years of current consumption and 250 years of current production.

Coupled with growing LNG capacity, natural gas offers significant advantages in providing flexibility for energy diversification and boosting supply security.

Dr Birol cautioned that the increased share of natural gas in the global energy mix is by itself insufficient to limit the average global temperature rise to no more than        2°C.

He called on continued government support as a key driver in boosting the use of renewable energy so that its share in the electricity supply rises from 19% in 2008 to 32% in 2035.

Further, the IEA projects that the decrease in nuclear energy’s share in power generation from 14% today to 10% in 2035 – will help push up the demand for coal, gas and renewable sources, producing a corresponding knock-on effect on energy prices.

During the session, Dr Birol shared key findings from IEA’s special report, “Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas?”. He presented a scenario in which the demand for gas is expected to grow by more than 50 percent, with a corresponding increase in gas supply projected, fuelled by the growth of unconventional gas and the expansion of LNG trade. Dr Birol also commented that with the LNG terminal, Singapore is well-positioned to be an LNG hub for the region.

Echoing Dr Birol’s view on the opportunities in the natural gas market, Mr Chee Hong Tat, Chief Executive of EMA, shared in his welcome remarks that Singapore has seen strong industry interest in LNG. Mr Chee also provided a progress update on Singapore’s LNG terminal, which is the first open-access, multiuserLNG terminal in Asia. The terminal is approaching 50 percent completion andis on track for commercial operations by the second quarter of 2013. Located on Jurong Island, the LNG terminal will be able to handle up to 6 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of throughput when its three tanks are completed.

EMA introduced the Distinguished Speaker Programme in April this year to augment its calendar of thought leadership programmes aimed at inspiring dialogue on emerging energy trends, technologies and solutions. Featuring industry leaders and luminaries in a series of public lectures, the Distinguished Speaker Programme
builds on the success of the flagship Singapore International Energy Week in providing platforms for the industry’s best minds to debate and exchange best practices, ideas and strategies in the energy space, and contribute to the global effort to secure a more sustainable energy future.

About the Energy Market Authority

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Our main goals are to ensure a reliable and secure energy supply, promote effective competition in the energy market and develop a dynamic energy sector in Singapore. Through our work, we seek to forge a progressive energy
landscape for sustained growth. Please visit our website www.ema.gov.sg for more information.

About the Singapore International Energy Week

The 4th Annual SIEW 2011 is the foremost platform for top policymakers, industry players and commentators to discuss energy issues, strategies and solutions. SIEW 2011 brings together the world’s leading conferences, exhibitions, workshops and networking events in one week, in one location. Covering key issues such as oil &
gas, energy trading, clean energy and smart grids, SIEW 2011 provides the ideal focal point to discuss energy security through the generation of ideas and exchange of best practice. More information about SIEW is available at www.siew.sg.

For media queries, contact:

Dawn Chin, Burson-Marsteller for EMA
Tel: +65 6671 3227
Email: dawn.chin@bm.com
Juniper Foo, EMA
Tel: +65 6376 7633
Email: juniper_foo@ema.gov.sg
Solonia Teodros, Burson-Marsteller for
Tel: +65 6671 3252
Email: solonia.teodros@bm.com
Sharon Tan, EMA
Tel: +65 6376 7542
Email: tan_gek_lin@ema.gov.sg