The Gastech opening ceremony panel did not disappoint as dignitaries and delegates heard from the leaders of Shell, ExxonMobil, Tellurian and Venture Global LNG about why they all see natural gas and LNG as the main energy source for the 21st century and why the industry is on such a strong growth trajectory.
Peter Clarke, Head of Global LNG, Senior Vice President, ExxonMobil Upstream Oil & Gas Company started by saying: “I want to emphasise the unique role that Gastech plays in bringing us all together. We are excited to be here and share our experience in the gas and LNG field. Texas is our hometown and we are delighted that Gastech is back here.”
Clarke discussed at length about the ExxonMobil massive Golden Pass project.
“We are excited to be at the helm of LNG exports right here in Houston with Golden Pass which is all about our vision for the industry, which is a long term perspective. We see in the gas and LNG space a lot of growth. The need to invest just to stay flat is enormous and we want to grow on top of that. The U.S. is now one of the largest LNG exporters in the world and we will be a big part of that with Golden Pass, which is very much built on our strategy, which is to really build durable, long-term relationships with our customers, partners and governments that we operate around the world.”
Clarke added: “We are very optimistic on global demand for LNG and this demand is not just going to come from the U.S but we have projects from around the world, places like Mozambique. We have seen an explosion in the number of markets that we can export to. Last year we hit 41 countries that now import LNG. There are whole new markets out there who see the value of LNG and how it fits into their energy system.”
De La Rey Venter, Executive Vice President, Integrated Gas Ventures, Shell, talked about the important role natural gas has to play in the future.
“A big part of our energy grid needs to be electrified and most of that electricity needs to be provided by renewables and you cannot have that happen without a backup in the system that natural gas can provide. Increasingly energy storage will play an important role, but there will always be a big need for natural gas.
“Even if this electrification, which must happen for the good of the world, you will still end up with 50 per cent of the global energy system that is not electrified, but is supplied by some other energy source that is the area we call today ‘hard to decarbonise’ and today the best available energy source for much of heavy industry is natural gas. I believe that natural gas has a super important role to play for several decades to come as the world transitions to a zero emissions energy.”
Meg Gentle, President & CEO, Tellurian emphasised the importance of Shell and ExxonMobil both committing to big LNG projects.
“I think both Shell’s big LNG Canada and ExxonMobil’s Golden Pass is a great indication of the future of the industry moving towards big projects which are going forward on balance sheet without big contracts. We are moving into a commodised industry and we need to bring portfolio gas to the market, which can be much more flexible.
“At Tellurian we have our driftwood LNG facility, which we recognised more than three years ago that we will have to do this big project on balance sheet and since we are a small balance sheet, we will need partners to do it. By the end of this year and start of next year we will begin construction with our partners doing it.”
Gentle added: “One great thing that Global Venture has done is shown how much capital there is in the bank market and how they are more willing to deploy capital on much more friendly terms. It has made such a difference to get the banks on side to see that the LNG market is a great industry in the U.S. to fund. As we go forward to finance the next set of projects the banks are always going to be the lowest cost financially in terms of structure. That is why there has to be that capital there to support them and see the future of getting re-financed through the bond market.”