EU NEED RUSSIAN GAS
Europe's reliance on imports of natural gas is likely to rise from half to three quarters over the next two decades and Russia will continue to supply around 30 percent of EU needs, BP's chief economist said on Friday.
The figures are troubling for European Union policymakers striving to reduce dependency on Russia, which is in conflict with Ukraine, the main transit route for Gazprom's gas to the EU.
BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale predicted the European Union would meet a provisional policy goal of increasing the amount of energy it gets from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, to at least 27 percent by 2030 versus 20 percent in 2020.
That would maintain its position as world leader in renewable energy - which accounts for around 3 percent of the worldwide mix, rising to 8 percent by 2035 - but would not be enough to reduce the need for gas.
"Europe is leading the world in terms of renewables and by 2030, they still provide less than a third. The dependency of Europe on imports of gas will increase over the next 20 years from around half to three quarters," Dale said in an interview.
The decline in output from mature European gas fields would be offset by imports from Iran and Iraq and a strong increase in liquefied natural gas, helping to diversify sources, but Dale said Russia's share would remain steady at 30 percent.
While globally renewables grow the fastest at 6.3 percent per year from a low base, gas will be the fastest-growing fossil fuel, at 1.9 percent per year, overtaking coal, which emits around twice as much carbon dioxide as gas.
Still, carbon emissions will rise above the rate scientists say would avoid the worst effects of climate change, BP says.
It sees carbon prices at $40 per ton by 2035 compared with roughly 7 euros ($8) per ton now on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).
"That ($40) is not enough, but we don't say what is enough. That's for public policy," said Dale, who was a member of the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee before joining BP last year.
Higher carbon prices could for instance help to make carbon capture and storage of emissions from fossil fuel a reality, a technology Dale predicted would still be insignificant in 2035.
EU regulators are seeking to remove a glut of pollution permits that has weighed on the ETS, but the proposed reform has divided member states.
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