On the first day of the Russian Energy Week International Forum, participants in the business programme discussed leadership in global energy supplies and the priority goals of the gas industry.
Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, was among the key experts present at the industry platform.
Leading international experts were invited to the discussion: Oil Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Franklin Abrahim Khan, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Secretary General of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Yury Sentyurin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gazprom Viktor Zubkov, Chairman of the Board and Member of the Board of Directors of NOVATEK Leonid Mikhelson, Governor of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area Dmitry Artyukhov.
From geopolitical to environmental issues, the participants discussed the impact of a wide range of factors on the development of the gas industry in Europe and around the world.
Alexander Novak stressed that gas is now the most promising source of energy. “Russia's share in global gas production will continue to grow, and by 2035 it could reach 26–27%. Over the past 10 years, gas production has increased by 100 billion cubic metres, and last year our country delivered a record amount of gas to Europe. Russia enjoys the competitive advantages of a highly developed infrastructure coupled with one of the lowest gas prices in the world,” said the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation.
Answering a question from the round table moderator and PBS NewsHour Special Correspondent Ryan Chilcote about the impact of US sanctions on the development of the gas industry in Iran, the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh expressed the state’s position: “It is unfortunate that the US uses oil and gas as an economic weapon. In such circumstances it is naturally now more difficult for us to operate in the oil sector, and we are working hard to find a way out of this tricky situation. US sanctions are not only hampering the development of the sector, we believe that they are directed against the entire Iranian people.”
The participants discussed several key issues, including the possibility of accelerating the reduction of coal consumption from China and its other major consumers. China today is one of the largest consumers of natural gas.
“Under the Power of Siberia project, the first billion cubic meters of gas will be delivered to China on 1 October. The market in China is growing and may soon reach European levels,” said Viktor Zubkov, Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors.
The Governor of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area Dmitry Artyukhov noted that gas production is not just about delivering billions of cubic meters, but also about the people who work at the production sites. “The working conditions are very important. When discussing the development of the industry, it is important that we focus not only on technologies and geopolitics, but also on the engineers and workers involved in the production process. In Russia we should pay closer attention to human capital,” he said.
The speakers agreed that the greater environmental friendliness of natural gas coupled with its low cost will make it one of the most popular energy sources for the medium and long term. According to the expert community, the transition from coal to gas will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity generation sector by 80% from the current level and drive the decarbonization process. The use of natural gas as a source of hydrogen and a motor fuel can in the long run make gas the leading source of energy worldwide.