Natural gas, a solution to the developing world’s energy poverty



Christopher Hudson, President, dmg events

As of 2018, almost 1 billion people live without access to energy. In an increasingly insecure energy environment threatened by geopolitical volatility, developing countries will only find it harder to connect hundreds of millions of people to reliable sources of electricity. The resulting energy poverty creates a vicious cycle for much of the developing world, as vast populations that lack access to cleaner and affordable energy are deprived of the means to gain the very resources that could bring them above the poverty line.

Against this worrying backdrop, natural gas may have an important role to play. The resource has already led global efforts to mitigate energy poverty: since 2000, the IEA reports that 26% of the gains in access to electricity have come from natural gas. Moreover, over 2.8 billion people lack access to modern cooking fuel. Natural gas, LPG, and natural gas liquids have the potential to replace biomass and other sources of cooking fuel, helping cut costs and provide significant environmental and health benefits.

Of the 1 billion people without access to energy, more than half are in sub-Saharan Africa. Demographic pressures over the coming decades will only make the energy poverty crisis on the continent more acute. There is, therefore, an urgent need to ensure the energy transition is responsive to Africa’s energy demands. Natural gas, as a low-carbon fuel, has an essential role to play.

The success of two countries, China, and Indonesia, in replacing traditional sources with natural gas, should encourage the rapid proliferation of gas infrastructure required to bring affordable, reliable energy closer to the people that need it most. But this will require significant investment to support developing countries as they transition away from coal – currently the world's most dominant and most carbon-intensive source of energy – to cleaner alternatives.

Global efforts to diversify LNG supply routes, with European nations making heavy investments in floating storage regasification units (FSRUs), present significant opportunities for the gas sector in the Global South to address their energy shortfalls. Enhanced gas production and improved infrastructure in the developing world would go some way to accomplishing the twin goals of addressing energy poverty, and helping accelerate the transition to net zero.

Ahead of COP27 in Egypt, where the question of a ‘just’ transition for the Global South will feature prominently, Gastech 2022 will convene industry leaders to discuss these very issues. There will be no better place to hear from key players in the gas sector, as they map out their plans for supporting global energy security, the energy transition, and the critical issue of access to energy in the developing world.

Don’t miss Gastech 2022, this September 5th-8th in Milan, Italy.  

To find out more about the conference, visit our website at:

#Gastech, Fiera Milano, Italy 5-8 September 2022