As a kid, I used to survey my old uncle’s vinyl records collection whenever we visited him in the countryside. The album cover that really impressed me was one labelled 50,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong.
I thought about this recently when I read German chancellor Angela Merkel’s keynote speech to an association of local German utilities (the VKU) in Berlin.
She said ‘more than 40 million people in Germany use natural gas to heat their homes. That is half of the country’s population. That is why we need to see the feed in of renewables and the gas sector very closely together.’ (Here’s a link to her complete speech in German)
I think that Chancellor Merkel was right to emphasize the importance of natural gas. Like all of those Elvis fans, 40,000,000 million people in Germany cannot be wrong.
Just as they were previously sensible in selecting abundant, affordable, cleaner-burning natural gas, now they are right to continue investing in gas infrastructure. In 2016, almost 45 per cent of new houses built in Germany were equipped with natural gas heating systems, making it the fuel of choice. The second most important system for heating new homes, with a share of almost 24 per cent, was ‘district heating‘ which is piped to individual houses from a central location. And guess what? Natural gas is also playing a significant role there.
With so much customer confidence in natural gas, it’s important to continue exploring for and producing natural gas wherever there is an existing or potential market. The closer the production, the less effort, energy and emissions you spend transporting the product. That’s why IOGP members are continuing to invest in new and existing sources of natural gas.
As Chancellor Merkel points out, the fanbase for natural gas will continue to grow for decades to come. And Elvis ? His legacy lives on. The 2016 compilation album, The wonder of you, has just hit the UK charts at #1.
The King still rules. So does natural gas.
About Olaf Martins
Olaf is IOGP’s global engagement manager. He has over 25 years’ experience in the industry. Before joining IOGP Olaf was with ExxonMobil, where he held a number of senior public affairs roles, including most recently his position as ExxonMobil Central Europe Holding’s manager of government relations and media. Olaf’s educational background is in economics.