Executives Push Gas, Carbon Pricing in Energy Transition
Natural gas executives pushed the role of their fuel in the energy transition at a major virtual oil and gas conference on March 2, but stressed that policy harmonisation is required if the transition is to be successful.
Speaking at CERAWeek by IHS Markit, Michele Harradence, a senior vice president at gas distributor Enbridge, noted that Enbridge works in 40 US states and nine Canadian provinces and territories, and must deal with different policy frameworks in each one of them.
“Patchwork public policy is always a challenge and we would really like to see some harmonisation of that wherever it can happen,” she said. “In terms of natural gas policy probably the most important thing to impress upon the policy makers is that natural gas can and should be a big part of the climate change solutions.”
The lowest-carbon fossil fuel, she said, has already done much to reduce CO2 emissions in North America and is an “excellent complement” to renewable energy. But it can do more, provided public policy is “technology and fuel source agnostic” and not driven by anti-oil and gas activists.
“Building our natural gas infrastructure doesn’t actually lock in emissions over the long term,” she said. “Rather, we can blend hydrogen and renewable natural gas into the gas stream, and that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
From a global perspective, Andy Calitz, incoming secretary general of the International Gas Union, said the major policy focus internationally will be on carbon taxation.
“That singular initiative on the price of carbon will probably help to drive carbon sequestration on a far more uniform platform across the world, recognising that a molecule of either methane or CO2, whether it is emitted in Africa, Asia, Europe or North America, South America or Australia, is into the same atmosphere,” he said.
But policy directions – locally, nationally or at the global level – need to be balanced, he said, between energy security and climate risk: “They are both profound in terms of their impact on the global economy and global society.”