Natural gas seems like the best solution to replace coal in power generation to keep to International Energy Agency's 2°C — or 450 ppm1 — scenario. Total has decided to operate as a global, integrated player across the natural gas value chain. That will require meeting a number of challenges to deliver on the promises of this abundant, affordable, flexible energy. Below, a primer on what that will entail.
There was a time not so long ago when hydrocarbon exploration primarily meant oil, which offered unmatched energy efficiency and logistical advantages. But those days are gone. Natural gas is shaping up to be the second biggest fuel of the global energy mix, knocking coal off its perch within the next 20 years. Gas has many pluses, including plentiful worldwide supply, flexible shipping destinations when liquefied, cost competitiveness and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The energy majors have good reason to give it pride of place.
But things are not quite that simple. To carve out a niche for itself in the everyday life of industry and households globally, natural gas still has a number of challenges to meet, from competitiveness to logistics and developing new uses, such as transportation. Through its climate commitments, Total has reaffirmed its strategic choice to be a global, integrated gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) player2. It's an excellent position and vantage point for analyzing and appreciating the major issues that make natural gas more than a promise.