By Yousef Saba and Rachna Uppal
ABU DHABI, Jan 14 (Reuters) – The world will need natural gas for a long time and more investment is required to ensure supply security and affordable prices during the global energy transition, energy ministers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said on Saturday.
Saad al-Kaabi, Qatari state minister for energy, told the Atlantic Council Global Energy Summit that a mild winter in Europe had seen prices come down, but that volatility would remain “for some time to come” given that there was not much gas coming into the market until 2025.
“The issue is what’s going to happen when they (Europe) want to replenish their storages this coming year and the next year,” he said, adding that energy producers were concerned about demand destruction.
Qatar is one of the world’s top producers of liquefied natural gas. The UAE is an OPEC oil producer that is sharpening its focus on the gas market as Europe seeks to replace Russian energy imports after supply cuts since Western sanctions were imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
The Qatari minister said he believed that Russian gas would eventually return to Europe.
UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, speaking on the same panel in Abu Dhabi, agreed that “for a very long time, gas will be there” and that while more renewable energy would be installed, more investment was needed in gas as a base load.
“The whole world needs to think of resources and how to enable companies to produce more gas to make it available and affordable,” Mazrouei said.
Kaabi said gas “is not a transition fuel” but a destination fuel, and that it was unfair for some in the West as part of its green energy push to say African countries should not be drilling for oil and gas when it was important for their economies and the world needed more supply.
Mazrouei said the “unclear” strategy of many countries made it difficult for them to commit to long-term gas contracts which in turn made it hard for energy companies to secure financing to invest in developing production capacity.