Natural gas use will ease transition into renewable energy, says PM

PETALING JAYA: The use of natural gas will help ease the transition into the growing renewable energy sector, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said while renewable energy resources are rapidly expanding, its supply is still intermittent in the present time.

As such, he added, natural gas could serve to address the needs for a steady and sustainable energy supply, as well as environmental concerns.

“With its substantial role, gas will continue to help bridge the inevitable energy transition and tackle the issue of climate change the world faces.

“We look forward towards natural gas to play a pivotal bridging role for this energy transition, providing a secure, affordable and sustainable base-load energy source in synergy with the growing but often intermittent renewable energy sources.

“This synergy gives rise to significant investment opportunities, not only in upstream but across the value chain,” he said at the 7th International Energy Forum (IEF) - International Gas Union (IGU) Ministerial Gas Forum - which was hosted by Malaysia on Thursday (Dec 3).

Natural gas, he added, has a better long-term outlook than other fossil fuels due to its relatively lower costs and lower carbon emissions from production, and that the gas industry could find opportunities for greater global growth.

He also said that the country is currently drafting a Natural Gas Roadmap (NGR) as part of the National Energy Policy (NEP) which would be announced in 2021.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economic Affairs) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said although worldwide demand for energy has dropped drastically, the energy sector is likely to see a rebound the next year.

He said global energy demand has declined by 30%, as the pandemic has grounded planes, limited vehicle usage and forced businesses and schools to close.

“Despite the declining energy demand this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that global gas demand will rebound in 2021, with Asia leading the demand growth in the years to come, as Asian emerging markets recover and benefit from attractive gas prices.

“The accelerated pace of digitalisation may also significantly increase the demand for electricity, further highlighting the importance of energy security in all aspects, namely price, supply and sustainability,” he said.

He said while the pandemic has brought attention to the need for cleaner energy sources, natural gas can serve in the meantime as a “transitional fuel” to offset the fluctuating supply of renewable resources.

“Malaysia is blessed with the second-largest proven natural gas reserves in Asean.

“To meet the rising demand for clean energy, Malaysia’s indigenous gas production, supplemented by regasification facilities, ensures security of supply for long-term energy sustainability,” he said.

The forum is a biennial event jointly organised by IEF and IGU, and this year, it was held virtually for the first time.

Also present were Petronas president and group chief executive Tengku Muhammad Taufik, IGU president Prof Joe Kang and IEF secretary-general Joseph McMonigle.

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