Less carbon, more gas. This shift promises to further the global energy industry’s goal of ensuring a more sustainable future for the planet. The analysts featured in Oil issue 33 praise the "bridging" role that blue gold will play ahead of a more radical energy transition. Amine Mazouzi, President of Algeria’s Sonatrach, for example, holds that the coming years will see "gas and renewables" share an increasingly significant space within the global energy mix, echoing a view endorsed by Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Internal Energy Market Director of the E.U. Commission, when pointing out how, in the name of greater continental energy security, all E.U. Member States will benefit from the same level of access to LNG. The United States, in this scenario, might take on a position of leadership, if, as it seems, the new administration releases the hydrocarbons sector from the more or less restrictive constraints imposed in the past and supports the export of LNG, which is also of much interest to Europe. A leap forward by Washington of this kind could "threaten" Russia’s supremacy beyond the Urals, although Moscow’s energy presence in the Old Continent, as Konstantin Simonov points out, has never been stronger. However, the route to U.S. supremacy now seems laid out.
The new leadership of the US and the expectation of China
According to Mehmet Ögütçü, President of the Global Resources Partnership, the new oil axis seems to make its way overseas, from Canada to North Dakota and southern Texas, and as far as the offshore gas fields near Brazil—a scenario that could, in the short term, reset certain global energy balances that were thought to be "set in stone" but instead look set to change. The use of gas, as pointed out by Ambassador Morningstar, Director of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, shall not be limited to the period of time that separates the world from the definitive rise of renewables, even in the face of the pressure that many countries are exerting. Rightly belonging to this group are also Iran and Saudi Arabia, key players, often on opposing sides, in an energy transformation, as Bassam Fattouh explains, and recording a growth in gas extraction levels. On the other hand, Europe, as Paul Betts points out, has, over the past few decades, planned the development of its infrastructure to import and store gas—possibly too much so. The E.U.’s so-called "Ten-Year Network Development Plan" envisages an 8 percent increase in gas demand between 2010 and 2013, while the latest data reveal a 14 percent decline in demand. Even Beijing seems to be sitting on the fence waiting for decisions to be taken at the White House, especially on climate change. The Dragon cannot allow itself to abandon its path towards a low-carbon energy strategy, and seems rock-firm on commitments made after signing the Paris Agreements. We have a global situation that could therefore be defined as "magmatic," but one that will soon deliver those answers that the global community is awaiting and that, we believe, will naturally restore its balance.