Natural Gas – An Energy Alternative for the Future ?
Natural gas is becoming an increasing option on the world energy market. A boom in natural gas exploration has started and new discoveries have increased natural gas reserves around the world.
For a long time gas was considered as a by-product of oil. In the 19th century it was used for lighting and houses and replaced candles. Even though gas has begun to catch up with oil it will not reach oil’s importance in the near future.
One of the main problems is that gas is difficult to transport. Gas does not have a global market price and only a very small part of it travels over longer distances. In Europe gas is transported through pipelines, most of it from fields in Russia. Some natural gas is turned into liquid form and put on tankers but cooling gas is very expensive.
In America more and more shale gas is discovered. This gas is trapped in rock formations. Parts of Europe, Chile, Argentine, Brazil, Mexico as well as some African countries may be sitting on gas reserves that have been unknown up to now. By 2035 the share of gas in global energy may rise to 25 % from currently 21%.
One of the reasons for the gas boom is better technology and the high price of oil, which makes companies search harder for alternatives.
Gas reserves and production have been growing faster than oil. Through new gas discoveries in the past decade energy experts predict that the world will have at least another 200 years of gas left.
Outside America gas is currently expensive. Russia’s state-owned gas producer Gasprom has long- term contracts with much of Western Europe and links the price of gas to oil. However if more gas can be transported into liquid form it could travel over longer distances and the prices would be more competitive.
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- boom = strong rise
- by-product = something additional that is produced
- carbon dioxide = gas that animals breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air
- catch up = reach; to become as important as
- competitive = here: cheaper than others but still of good quality
- considered = thought to be
- contract = deal, agreement
- cool = here: to turn into a liquid form
- currently = at the moment
- discovery = to find something for the first time
- electricity = power that is carried by wires and cables and which is used to give us light or heat
- emit = send out
- exploration = travelling to an area to try to find minerals or raw materials there
- global = worldwide
- however = but
- increasing = growing
- liquid = fluid
- long-term = for many years
- option = alternative
- power plant = a building that produces electricity from raw materials
- predict = to say that something will happen
- replace = to exchange instead of something else
- shale = smooth soft rock which breaks easily into thin flat pieces
- share = part
- trap = not able to escape