ENGIE: Ensuring the golden age of gas happens in Europe

Global gas demand is expected to grow, with consumption reaching approximately 4,000 billion cubic meters by 2022. In the coming years, Europe is likely to see growing competition between LNG imports and pipeline gas supplies, which could dramatically benefit the consumers.

ENGIE is a global energy player and has a strong presence at every link in the energy value chain. As Europe’s leading distribution network for natural gas as well as a leading importer of LNG, Gastech Insights spoke to Group Executive Vice President, Didier Holleaux to discuss the European gas industry and what to expect next.

Gastech Insights: What are the key challenges affecting the European gas industry and how is ENGIE addressing these?

Didier Holleaux: ENGIE is addressing today’s gas industry challenges by campaigning for an effective carbon price and the decommissioning of coal plants. As well as this we are also pushing to ensure everybody understands that gas is a best friend of renewables. Natural gas and renewables are ultimately the best energy transition mix for Europe. We need to make sure that the golden age of gas does happen in Europe.

Gastech Insights: What can be done in order to position gas as a fuel of choice in post COP21 in Europe?

Didier Holleaux: We must make everybody understand that coal and oil are products of the past and that gas does offer more environmentally friendly alternatives. For example, in transportation, with LNG or compressed natural gas, or in power production where gas and renewables are one of the best possible mix in the medium term.

Gastech Insights: What is the next game changer for Europe’s gas industry?

Didier Holleaux: I see at least 2 game changers for the industry. The first is the development of gas as a fuel, particularly LNG for trucks and ships, and the second is green gas. We need to develop green gas as much as possible so that our fellow citizens realise that gas not only is the perfect combination with renewables in the European energy mix but also becomes renewable itself.

Gastech Insights: If you could implement anything to advance the gas industry in Europe, what would it be?

Didier Holleaux: A stable, increasing carbon price so that externalities due to global warming are internalized in the price of energy. That will differentiate gas from coal and oil, and will promote use of gas where it can effectively replace coal and oil. This will therefore accelerate decarbonation of the industry and of our economy at large.  

Gastech Insights: What do you think are the key benefits in attending the European Autumn Gas Conference (EAGC)?

Didier Holleaux: The EAGC is a very good opportunity to feel what the ambiance is in the gas industry in Europe, what topics people are discussing, what they are worried about and how they see the future.