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Natural gas: building a cleaner energy future
Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. It is affordable: a gas-fired power station cost far less to build than a coal-fired plant. It is acceptable because of its environmental benefits. And it is abundant, with 250 years’ worth of natural gas resources left in the world at current rates.
Natural gas has an essential and growing role to play in building a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy future.
It burns more cleanly than any other fossil fuel, emitting 50-70% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal in electricity generation. A modern gas-fired power plant is also 40% more efficient than a coal-fired plant.
The economic benefits of natural gas are clear: a gas-fired power plant costs less than half what it costs to build a coal-fired plant. There is also plenty of natural gas left. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that enough natural gas exists to meet global demand for the next 250 years at today’s production rates.
Increased access to natural gas supplies – particularly from shale formations – can boost domestic energy security and help countries meet CO2-emission reduction targets faster and more affordably.
Natural gas is also the preferred fuel for combined cycle heat and power plants. In these plants the heat produced from generating electricity is used for industrial or domestic heating, raising overall efficiency.
Natural gas trapped in densely-packed shale formations, known as unconventional gas, is increasingly helping to meet the world’s growing demand for reliable energy. These resources have been baked hard by heat and pressure over millions of years. The natural gas that lies deep beneath the Karoo is this type of gas.