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The energy crisis and soaring energy prices have forced Europe into making a U-turn and burn more coal again in order to keep the lights on, according to the chief executive of one of the world’s top LNG exporters, QatarEnergy.
“Many countries, particularly in Europe which had been strong advocates of green energy and carbon-free future, have made a sudden and sharp U-turn. Today, coal burning is once again on the rise, reaching its highest levels since 2014,” Saad Al-Kaabi, CEO at QatarEnergy and Minister of State for Energy Affairs, said at the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference 2022 in Tokyo on Thursday.
“Sadly, the growing economic burden has fizzled the euphoria over the series of energy transition plans, causing severe erosion in public support for reducing carbon emissions,” Al-Kaabi said at the event as carried by Reuters.
Europe has said it is doubling down on clean energy sources to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and rogue fossil fuel providers such as Russia. However, the soaring price of natural gas has forced many governments in Europe to restart reserve coal or oil-fired capacity in recent months or to extend the availability of coal plants beyond their original phase-out date.
Earlier this week, QatarEnergy’s Al-Kaabi said at the virtual Asia Green Growth Partnership Ministerial Meeting, “Inflationary pressures are impacting the oil and gas industry through rising production costs, delays in investment decisions, and increased policy uncertainty. Such developments caused a setback in the kind of serious energy transition the world needs in order to address the immediate challenges of climate change.”
“Hydrocarbons are not going to disappear any time in the near future,” he said, adding “In this respect, natural gas is certainly the cleanest fossil fuel, and a much-needed reliable and economic solution to manage intermittency issues - when the sun is not shining, or when the wind is not blowing.”
Qatar plans a major expansion of its LNG export capacity and the current rush for LNG in Europe is a bullish sign for the LNG market going forward.
Last week, sources with knowledge of the plans told Reuters that German utility giants Uniper and RWE were close to signing long-term deals with Qatar for supply from its expanded LNG export capacity, to replace Russian gas.
By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com
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Josh Owens is the Content Director at Oilprice.com. An International Relations and Politics graduate from the University of Edinburgh, Josh specialized in Middle East and…