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GECF 2018 Global Outlook Presentation - Opening Remarks by Dr. Sentyurin

 Vienna, Austria

Opening Remarks by the Secretary General
Yury P. Sentyurin, Ph. D

December 7, 2018

Excellencies, ministers, heads of international organizations, ambassadors, academics, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to welcome you warmly to this magnificent venue, the Palais Hansen Kempinski. Most of you have had an eventful day behind you, but I do believe we have a promising evening ahead of us.


Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the host country of this event and personally to Her Excellency Karin Kneissl, Austrian Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs for her valuable participation in this event as well as her dedication to and recognition of the importance of energy and environment related issues.


We have chosen the City of Vienna, ‘the City of Dreams’ to invite you to join in on a landmark occasion for the GECF and to join us in not only dreaming about, but in laying a solid foundation for a sustainable future. Austria, the widely recognized natural gas hub, the center of the biggest consumer of natural gas – Europe – one of the most challenging markets for GECF member countries and one of the most regulated ones.


This year, in fact, Austria and one of our member states – Russia – have marked the 50th anniversary of natural gas export start to Europe, a historic milestone for the East-West relationship. As a matter of fact, our host country has been playing a crucial role as the first long-term contracted consumer. It is worth stressing the long-term nature of this commitment and the bond between countries, as it has been recently decided to extend the contract for a further long period I hope of mutually beneficial cooperation. This year also marks the birth of another historic relationship, the one between Austria and Qatar. Qatar started supplying its natural gas here with a 10% share of the market at the moment.
There is a strong connection between GECF member states and mainland Europe, a link that is not only based on supply contracts, but far more than that, we are physically interconnected through an intricate pipeline infrastructure. From Norway in the North, to Algeria in the south, Russia and Azerbaijan in the east. It is a great honour for GECF to be close geographically and economically to our esteemed and valuable consuming partners.  

I am thankful you were all able to join us today as we are presenting the 2018 edition of our Global Gas Outlook, our flagship publication.Well-researched information serves as a foundation for drafting and pursuing accurate policies that serve as a framework for international collaboration and to guarantee the much-needed security of supply.

For the time being, we are an intergovernmental coalition of 19 countries, with 12 full-fledged members and 7 Observers, spanning 4 continents. A new Member, Angola, has just joined us this November.

Jointly, GECF Member Countries control 70% of the global proven gas reserves, 45% of gas production, 64% of pipeline gas exports and 54% of LNG exports across the globe. When we zoom in on Europe, GECF exports support the market with a share as high as 94% of European LNG and almost 100% of the pipeline gas imports. Taking this opportunity, I would like to emphasize the role of GECF Member countries as reliable suppliers to meet the European consumer’s energy needs as well as the importance of natural gas to enhance energy security worldwide and guarantee the ever-so-crucial balance of supply and demand - to ensure that sufficient investments throughout the gas value chain are undertaken in a timely manner to meet increasing global demand.


Since its establishment in 2008, our organization has developed into a globally recognized authority for insights into gas markets and a trustworthy platform for the promotion of cooperation and dialogue on key aspects of the gas industry. GECF’s routine activities are guided by a range of priority objectives and are based on the essential credentials of natural gas as a clean and reliable source for stable development. The importance of natural gas in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including the one that is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all can’t be underestimated. The role of natural gas in the global energy mix is crucial in building climate resilient economies in line with the Paris Agreement.


According to our projections, fossil fuels are expected to continue to play a dominant role in the global energy mix, meeting 76% of total energy demand by 2040. Natural gas will be the only hydrocarbon resource to increase its share in the global energy mix, from 22% today to 26% in 2040.


These testaments have been resonated in the statement of the G20 Energy Ministers’ meeting, recognizing the key role that natural gas currently plays for many G20 countries, as well its potential to expand significantly over the coming decades, and its conclusive role in supporting transitions towards lower emission energy systems.
These figures clearly demonstrate that natural gas is a key fuel of choice; and while we respect efforts to reduce hydrocarbons, it is a fact all industry experts agree on that natural gas is here to stay.
GECF does believe that natural gas should be considered as an inevitable element for the transition to a low carbon future and not only as a simple partner of renewable energy.
The above-mentioned figures and conclusions demonstrated definitely that natural gas is a key fuel of choice; and while we respect efforts to reduce hydrocarbons, it is a fact all industry experts agree on that natural gas is here to stay.
On the other hand, there are some challenges, largely due to technology shifts, issued linked to transportation, price volatility, limited predictability of gas demand growth and energy policy uncertainties, which could be tackled through permanent cooperation and incremental dialogue between energy market stakeholders.
Since The Forum’s inauguration in 2008, our organization has worked hard to develop its own efficient means to communicate our vision and work with our audience. The culmination of that is The Forum’s Global Gas Outlook 2040, based on the global gas model developed by our organization.
The GECF Outlook is unique, as it is the only energy foresight worldwide to focus solely on natural gas. It aims to be a global reference for insights into gas markets. It represents an impartial view on gas market evolution by highlighting the most likely developments that are going to occur in the medium and long term, based on assumptions regarding macro-economic conditions, energy prices, and current energy policies.
There is a specific part in the GECF Outlook dedicated to the environmental credentials of natural gas and the document projects that, given current and anticipated policy efforts, energy-related CO2 emissions will remain much higher than what is required to meet the Paris Agreement. This makes an increased role of natural gas even more pressing, and we are pleased to say that in this light, we have been acknowledged and accepted this week as an Observer Intergovernmental Organization to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The GECF fully supports the global commitments toward clean and environmentally friendly energy sources, with the aim of promoting economic development with a smaller carbon footprint. We believe that there is the need for an increased share of natural gas in the energy mix given it is an abundant, affordable, versatile, flexible and environmentally friendly fuel.
The Outlook is quantified through the use of the GECF’s own Global Gas Model – a unique and highly granular model developed at the GECF Secretariat – which includes various sub-models that each focus on one segment of the gas value chain. The model is based on primary sources of information from GECF member countries, which I remind you are representing 70% of the global proven natural gas reserves. The 2018 edition of Outlook 2040 is the second official publication, and this latest version has been reviewed to reflect a full data update in October 2018. For the first time, it includes 2 new alternative scenarios. The Carbon Mitigation one (CMS) takes into account the potential introduction of new energy policies that are likely to materialize as a result of national climate commitments and carbon mitigation measures. The Technology Advancement Scenario (TAS) builds upon the assumptions made in the CMS to model the long-term effects that technological progress and innovation have on global and regional energy markets, as well as the potential implications for gas demand.
It is important to highlight that the GECF is in the last stages of joining the IEA-IEF-OPEC joint program of work on energy outlooks as the 4th member of this prestigious multilateral global dialogue. This would mean that GECF’s GGO would become an integral part of the global intellectual cooperation - in compliance with the statement of the IEF16 Ministerial Meeting in India, this April, which welcomed further improvement
on the architecture of the IEF energy dialogue and the interface between international organizations by involving the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in their cooperation[…], including the work programme on energy, noting that the GECF is already an active partner organization in the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) since 2014.”
To conclude, I want to take of this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude towards the many experts in the GECF countries as well as our head office team, whose perseverance and dedication is the very reason we can present this high quality publication to you today.
Esteemed guests, we value your views and opinions, whatever your background may be – be it policy-making, diplomatic, industry, academic, or communications. It is clear that no entity or nation can act upon their own accord and the power of collaboration is in my opinion the most powerful tool we possess.
The GECF’s mission and priority objectives are centered on fostering cooperation and dialogue, among producers, between producers and consumers, between governments and energy-related industries and I would like to invite all parties involved to continue the positive dialogue to build intergovernmental and interdisciplinary bridges towards a sustainable future.
Thank you all again for your kind attention.

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