The story of Asia Pacific in the 21st century is one of unprecedented growth.
Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population lives in the Asia-Pacific region, and that growing population requires rapid industrialising and new global technology hubs.
As they develop, nations in this region are looking for ways to support a growing middle class that is becoming hungry for energy as their quality of life improves.
ExxonMobil’s latest Energy Outlook to 2040 says billions will rise to join this middle class, and access to energy will be a critical enabler that helps lift these people out of poverty.
China and India are each expected to have more than 1 billion middle-class citizens by 2030, according to the Outlook.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) identified natural gas as one of the major fuels supplying this increased demand for power through to 2040, largely because it offers reliable, cleaner energy without sacrificing air quality.
The IEA expects natural gas demand to rise by around 60% to 2024 in the region, while ExxonMobil’s Energy Outlook sees natural gas usage growing more than any other source of primary energy.
But why is the Asia-Pacific region turning to this fuel source as the feedstock supplying its power generation?
Natural gas has about 60% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to coal – which is the most common source of energy in Asia-Pacific. Natural gas is helping the region stay on track to meet the dual challenge of lowering emissions without sacrificing energy reliability.
Gas is also capable of supporting the growing use of intermittent renewable power like wind and solar, which are dependent on specific conditions and locations. Because natural gas can supply an uninterrupted, on-demand source of energy, it can ensure the lights stay on and power is there when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.
Asia-Pacific will turn to gas to keep it on the road towards cleaner air and lower emissions while also providing the energy to power the region’s growing middle class.