Could Natural Gas Cause a Gasoline Glut?

Reuters has a highly interesting oil and gasoline story. If you are one of the “peak oil” types, you may not want to hear it. As a matter of fact, it could shake your belief system so much that you scream “BIAS!” As a service to all our readers, we give you a chance to stop before it gets ugly.

So much money is made to convert crude oil in to motor fuels, that power and industry can’t afford it, making power and industry switch to other fuels, mostly gas. Motor fuels however is a low growth industry. What’s more, it could also easily switch to natural gas. The effect is an oil glut.

  • BP predicts a worldwide oil demand growth of just 0.8 percent a year up to 2030 – slower than for any other energy type and only half the projected total energy demand growth rate over the same period.
  • Transport is slow growing as cars are getting more efficient. BP’s Outlook 2030 study shows the fuel economy of new cars in the United States and China falling well below 5 liters per 100 kilometer by 2030 from between 7 and 8 now.
  • In OECD countries, transport fuel demand is set to actually fall as weak economies, a shift to smaller cars, and a move onto public transport in congested urban areas take a further toll.
  • Worldwide, gas, biofuels and other alternatives are expected to steal almost a third of what growth there might be.

Gas is already approaching a similar overall market share to oil in the world’s energy mix. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) already is a viable transport fuel, and oil executives are starting to see a point at which familiarity and availability could tip the balance away from diesel and gasoline.  Big oil players are already heavily invested in LNG.

LNG is expected to replace diesel in trucks and buses, ships, even airplanes first, before it makes a difference in private cars some decades away.

LNG-powered ships are already a reality. The first commercial gas-powered civil aircraft flight left Doha for London on Jan. 9 this year, fueled by jet fuel made from gas.