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GECF Invited to Natural Gas Panel at SPIEF 2019

 Saint-Petersburg

Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) was invited to participate in the 2019 edition of Saint-Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which as per tradition was held under patronage of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. This year's edition exceeded the previous record in terms of the number of participants: over 19 000 attendees from 145 countries all over the world. This year, the Russian flagship economic forum was attended by the President of China Xi Jinping, the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Slovakia Peter Pellegrini, and the United Nations Organization Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. 

The GECF’s knowledge and expertise was represented at the Forum by HE Secretary General Dr. Yury Sentyurin, who delivered a speech during ‘The Impact of the Natural Gas Engine on the Economy and Climate’ discussion. 

Key participants of the panel were the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gazpom Viktor Zubkov, Russian Minister of Transport Evgeny Ditrikh, Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Anton Inyutsin, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, CEO of Snam Marco Alvera, and others. 

Moderating the discussion, the President of S&P Global Platts Martin Frenkel aimed at exploring the vision of the future for natural gas vehicles by 2050. Mr. Frenkel explained, that over the past 50 years, natural gas has revolutionized the world’s fuel market for electricity and heat generation. Gas will continue to maintain its long-term competitiveness in this market amid growing environmental requirements. 

At the same time a new area for the large-scale application of natural gas over the next 50 years will be the transport sector. The high octane number and the environmental properties of natural gas make it possible to create highly efficient vehicles with low overall emissions. Investments and innovative technologies, LNG infrastructure, engines, and possible competitors to natural gas-powered motors became a red line throughout the discussion.

In his address, Dr. Sentyurin stated that promotion of compressed and liquified natural gas as secure motor fuel with unique combination of environmental, economical and technological advantages is one of the priorities for the GECF. He explained that according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimates, 91% of the world's population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits. And one of the major contributors to air pollution is the transport segment. 

Meanwhile switching to natural gas vehicles (NGV) implies a decrease of harmful substances and a concentration of pm2.5. Even when compared to the Euro-7 fuel standard, transition to NGV results in a 95% decrease in pm2.5, and more than 70% reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions.

The GECF Secretary General continued to say that, the GECF Global Gas Outlook forecasts an increase in natural gas consumption in the road transport sector from 58.1 billion cubic meters in 2017 to 222.6 billion cubic meters by 2040, with an average growth rate of about 6.0%. China, USA, India, Iran are expected to be the biggest consumption markets by 2040. However, there is still a room for improvement, especially in the developing countries as the NGV full-scaled potential remains locked. 

Examining the reasons, restricting further NGV expansion, Dr. Sentyurin named insufficient promotion and negative public perception, underdeveloped gas-refueling infrastructure and NGV competitors governmental support. 

In this regard, the GECF consistently advocates technological neutrality of state support measures to reduce emissions in transport, as well as coordinated stimulation of the strategic development of gas-refueling infrastructure, with major focus on landmark projects and best practices for the integrated development of the NGV market (Italy, China, Iran).

Secretary General emphasized that aiming at creating highly efficient freight and urban municipal vehicles, as well as sea and river vessels, rail transport and quarry trucks with low overall emissions the GECF takes a proactive stance at international platforms, namely the G20 Energy Transition Working Group and Energy Ministers Meeting, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Moreover, the NGV support measures are deemed to become a part of the GECF’s environmental actions framework. 

In his concluding remarks, HE Secretary General reaffirmed intention to enact the advantages of natural gas available, reliable, versatile, affordable and eco-friendly fuel, in accelerating the technological evolution, meeting the increasing energy demand while mitigating the negative impact on the environment. 

In order to draw more closely attention of the Forum’s Member Countries to the natural gas for transport topic, it is considered to be incorporated into agenda of the upcoming 2nd International Gas Seminar. The Seminar is organized back-to back with the 5th GECF Summit, which is to be held on the level of Heads of State and Government on November 26-29 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The performance was followed by further discussion by high-ranking representatives from leading energy companies, academia, energy institutes, and media.

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GECF Invited to Natural Gas Panel at SPIEF 2019  Saint-Petersburg
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