During the last few years, the energy sector has been through dramatic changes on almost every aspect and every segment of the industry: policy and regulation, price and market behaviour, technology, uncertainty surrounding the investment framework; and climate change mitigation has become more than ever a global challenge.
Global energy demand is projected to grow substantially over the coming decades and fossil fuels are expected to remain the main source of energy in the primary energy mix. This growing energy demand needs a sustainable and affordable answer. Due to its qualities and availability natural gas can play an important role to meet the energy and environmental challenges. However, the gas industry is highly capital-intensive and large and long-term investments are required through the entire value chain. Sustained energy policies and stable fiscal regimes contribute to reduce uncertainties in the investment framework and enable the gas industry to plan, invest and meet future market needs.
As natural gas demand increases, gas will play a larger part in the evolving business environment; and partnerships based on gas are expected to grow. Improved cooperation within the industry and with other stakeholders, including governments, best underpins natural gas development and global energy security.
The growth of unconventional gas production in the US has altered the gas market outlook not only in North America but in other parts of the world. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Fukushima accident have had a dramatic effect on the energy scene and may lead to more stringent regulation and operational procedures. The Fukushima accident may adversely impact on the development prospects of nuclear power around the world and may lead to significant changes of energy policies across the regions, with greater reliance on natural gas and renewables.
The IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum is now established as a regular platform for Ministers and senior decision makers to discuss key developments in the gas industry. The 3rd IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum investigated how the complex and various challenges facing the gas industry can be facilitated by sustained energy policies, long-term partnership and enhanced cooperation.