Decarbonising gas is key to climate goals, consultancy says

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OSLO (Reuters) - Only 13% of natural gas used globally in 2050 will be stripped of carbon dioxide, posing a major challenge in reaching the goals of the Paris climate agreement, energy consultancy DNV GL said on Tuesday.

The Norway-based group, which advises both petroleum and renewable energy companies, forecasts warming of 2.3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, a level which scientists say will have catastrophic effects.

DNV GL expects gas to surpass oil as the largest source of energy by 2026, as governments seek to limit warming to the 2 degree goal set in the Paris deal. Carbon dioxide emissions can be removed from gas by converting it to hydrogen, in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS), or after it is burned.

“CCS needs to move into overdrive ... also for producing more emissions-free hydrogen,” DNV GL Chief Executive Remi Eriksen said in the report.

More than 40% of gas used in Europe is expected to be decarbonised via CCS by 2050, based on current technology and policy trends, DNV GL said. But greater efforts were needed to limit global warming this century to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“Decarbonised natural gas, including hydrogen, will play a key role in the transition to the energy future humanity wants and needs,” it said.

Oslo-based energy consultancy Rystad Energy said on Monday it expected CCS to attract up to $35 billion in investment in Europe by 2035, with around ten large-scale projects in the plans, mainly around the North Sea.

In July, DNV GL said it expected 2019 to be the year when both carbon emissions and demand for crude oil peaked due to COVID-19 pandemic permanently changing the ways people travel and work.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Philippa Fletcher