A $200 to $300 billion annual investment gap in natural gas development worldwide over the past 10 years risks further price spikes globally as demand for natural gas rises in developing countries, according to Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum.

Addressing the International Energy Forum Annual Symposium in Riyadh, Jafar, who leads the region’s oldest private oil and gas company, pointed out that natural gas is more important than ever as an enabler of the energy transition, replacing coal and liquid fuels for power generation while supporting renewables when there is insufficient sun or wind.

“But as demand for natural gas rises, a shortfall in investment of about $200 billion to $300 billion annually over the past decade will impact supply going forward. We must seek balance in the energy trilemma of affordability and availability as well as sustainability, especially in the developing world, which will be central to achieving prosperity while tackling climate change as a global challenge,” he observed.

Jafar, who is also Board Managing Director of ADX-listed Dana Gas, noted that global trade in liquified natural gas (LNG) is projected to grow by 50 percent by 2040 to reach 700 million tonnes per year. However, underinvestment in infrastructure and supply is leading to high LNG prices which worsen energy poverty in developing countries in Asia and Africa and spur increased burning of coal, resulting in higher carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

“The developing world is where the challenge of climate change will be won or lost. We must enable these countries to have access today to cleaner, low-cost sources of stable energy, including natural gas, if the global effort is to succeed,” he said.

Jafar also noted that the Gulf region will remain a central energy hub for the world, with pioneering efforts in hydrogen, low cost solar, and carbon capture.

(Writing by Dennis Daniel; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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