Processing Magazine

ExxonMobil CEO says natural gas will be ‘global economic enabler’

June 5, 2012

Increased supply of natural gas resources will help advance global economic growth with fewer emissions, Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. said in a speech at the 25th World Gas Conference in Malaysia and widely reported by media sources. By 2025, ExxonMobil predicts natural gas will overtake coal to become the second most widely used source of energy worldwide.

The historic shift of global energy markets toward increased use of natural gas will create new opportunities for economic growth and environmental progress, Tillerson said today.

"Natural gas is quickly becoming a key enabler of economic growth and environmental progress around the world," Tillerson said. "We are living at a historic moment in the evolution of energy markets. How we respond will shape the quality of life for generations to come."

The need for natural gas resources is greatest in regions like the Asia-Pacific, where energy demand is projected to grow by more than 50 percent over the next three decades, Tillerson said. Natural gas can help meet needs for electricity, chemicals, and plastics that increase quality of life while reducing environmental impacts. Two key factors influencing the market’s evolution include

--An Asia-Pacific region that is poised to benefit greatly from access to abundant, cleaner-burning natural gas

--Sound policy pathways are needed to ensure natural gas resources are unlocked in a safe, economically competitive, and environmentally responsible way

Access to natural gas has been made possible in large part by industry advances in large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and transportation, and in development of unconventional gas sources such as shale gas, coal bed methane, and tight sands through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques.

"To date, North America has been the proving ground for unconventional gas development — and the results have been encouraging, confirming the enormous potential of this resource," Tillerson said. "The challenge now is to confirm the size of the global unconventional resource and to fully apply these breakthrough technologies to nations outside North America."

By learning from the North American experience, industry and government can work together to develop a legal and policy framework that encourages the safe, sustainable and environmentally responsible development of global natural gas resources.

"Our future success will depend not only on geologic conditions and technological innovations, but also on government policies, effective business partnerships, and disciplined investments," Tillerson said. "Fortunately, as government and industry leaders consider the growing importance of natural gas and the need for its development, they can study and learn from the successes and shortcomings of the North American experience."

Tillerson said the policies needed to responsibly develop natural gas should hold the industry accountable to operational integrity and excellence without stifling innovation and investment.

"We know that when governments establish long-term, market-oriented policies, our industry will respond with the long-term planning, partnerships and projects that reshape the future for the better," he said. "With sound policies in place around the world, we can help nations and peoples achieve their economic, environmental, and energy security goals -- and as we do so, we can create opportunity and progress for all."