Decarbonised natural gas could play a much bigger role than forecast in meeting future energy demand, according to Technip Energies’ executive project director Alain Poincheval.

“We believe gas is increasingly competitive with other forms of energy and a decarbonised version of natural gas could displace coal faster than many perceive,” he told analysts during a capital markets day in late January.

Technip Energies sees significant growth in greenfield and brownfield liquefied natural gas projects — which need to be decarbonised at source — in order to meet demand forecast to hit 690 million tonnes per annum in the mid-2030s.

ENERGY EXPLORED: SUBSCRIBE TO ACCELERATE

Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry's energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge. Sign up here today.

“The LNG wave is not over," Poincheval said.

"We estimate a supply gap of above 140 million tpa" — the equivalent, he said, of 25% of current global capacity, or "15 mega-projects”.

Modular LNG plants and mid-size facilities as well as floating LNG will have a key role to play in meeting this demand, he said.

However, the need to decarbonise LNG is critical, and this is one area where Technip Energies is placing a lot of attention.

“Within the LNG value chain, we estimate that as much as 75% of emissions occur during (gas) pre-treatment and liquefaction,” said Poincheval.

He went on to explain that emissions from feedstock gas could be removed through compression and dehydration of carbon dioxide, while emissions from gas turbines could be captured and injected offshore.

Also on Technip’s LNG decarbonisation radar are plans to replace fuel gas needed at liquefaction plants with hydrogen and to incorporate wind and solar power.

Chief executive-elect Arnaud Pieton said the company is discussing both greenfield and brownfield LNG decarbonisation opportunities.

“These conversations are real and converting into feasibility studies,” he said.

Pieton highlighted the Qatar LNG Extension project — which a Technip-Chiyoda alliance won a $13 billion contract to build this week — as having a “quite a large” carbon capture, utilisation and storage module integrated into it.

“It will capture multi-million tonnes of CO2 per annum.”

In terms of LNG projects powered by green electricity, Pieton said, “we are competing in more than one real tender".

Floating LNG facilities could also be decarbonised, pointed out Poincheval.