The Natural Gas Chain*
Costs and environmental impact are important drivers for investigating the natural gas life cycle. Environmental impact will more and more become an important subject in industry policy and strategy. While natural gas is now performing well in terms of environmental profile with respect to other fossil energy sources, continued efforts will be essential to keep this position in a changing market and with other fossil fuels working on their environmental impacts. The International Gas Union (IGU) therefore started a life-cycle initiative for the natural gas chain. The aim is to collect and structure industry data on consumptions and emissions along the life cycle of natural gas. The CE report describes the initiation of the life-cycle inventory and intitial findings. One of the main issues in the natural gas chain is the loss of product through fugitive emissions and venting or flaring. Natural gas – methane – has a high global warming impact and therefore product loss and climate impact are closely related. This means that reducing losses leads to improved economic as well as environmental performance. In order to identify the – most attractive – options for improvement, further expansion of the life-cycle database is desirable. Nevertheless, the data collected in this project do cover a fair fraction of the global volume and give useful first insight into issues as well as options along the gas chain.