Current Debate Topics

Current Debates
Audience
Current Debate 2
The Preliminary WGC 2021 Current Debate Topics Announced! 

These sessions will give audience members the opportunity to debate with invited senior-level executives on the most commercial and strategic topics of the moment.

The COVID-19 pandemic created the largest decline in global energy demand since World War II and injected new uncertainty into the future of energy markets. Energy systems around the world were already going through rapid transitions that will bring important changes to the way we fuel our cars, heat our homes, and power our industries. Actions to mitigate the economic consequences of the Pandemic and ultimately to return countries to growth will be critical for Government and business leaders and will impact energy consumption with mounting pressure to deliver energy produced with dramatically lower emissions and in more sustainable ways. This session will examine the macro energy landscape from the intersection of policy, markets, and geopolitics.

The Covid-19 pandemic has occurred at a time when global gas markets were already under enormous price pressure from a surge in LNG supplies, weaker demand in Asian markets and warmer weather. While this environment creates significant short-term hurdles for the wider LNG industry, the demand for energy in developing regions, the need for cleaner sources of energy, and the increased competitiveness with other energy sources lead to optimism about LNG’s longer-term future. But continued growth will require substantial new investment from both seller and buyer in the infrastructure needed to meet new demand and these investments will be accompanied by new risks that must be managed. This session will examine the potential for expanding existing markets and opening new markets, the innovations needed in both technology and market design to reduce costs and manage risk.

A resilient energy sector has been critical for global and national response and recovery efforts and highlighted the importance of strengthening energy security. Defined as the availability of energy in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices at all times, energy security is a complex issue and a high priority for every nation due to energy’s importance for economic development and growth. Key security issues include diversity of supply, stable prices, the reliability of infrastructure, and the use of clean sustainable resources. This session will explore developments within the EU, ASEAN and East Africa to enhance their respective regions energy security.

The global gas market is undergoing a structural change as market dynamics shift risk from buyers to sellers and the LNG market adjusts to the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19. By adapting to the changing landscape and developing new business models, gas traders and aggregators are playing a key role in mitigating these risks. This session will examine the risk management tools that often accompany the evolution of traded markets and that can be adapted for global gas markets.

Both mandated and voluntary methane reduction initiatives are rolling out across the oil and gas sector and challenging the industry to address the urgent need to continually reduce emissions of methane across the entire gas value chain. This session will examine the industry’s progress in overcoming the challenges in measuring, quantifying and reducing these emissions.

Technologies and ideas that already existed were put to widespread accelerated use during the pandemic. Many of these new technologies have shown the potential to disrupt long-standing market structures and change how the world uses energy. No aspect of the natural gas value chain – from upstream to behind the meter will be unaffected. This session will identify the new and emerging technologies that are and will shape the future of the gas industry and determine if the industry will lead or be left behind by advanced technologies.

With a population larger than that of the United States and an economy that is growing faster than that of China, the economic success of Southeast Asia is dependent on governments and businesses joining forces to provide the clean affordable energy that will fuel their economy and transform their energy systems. This session will review master plans for the power and gas markets in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia and the challenges these Southeast Asian countries are facing in such key energy related sectors as renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, development of the ASEAN Power Grid, building out LNG terminal infrastructure and regasification capacity and Implementing new technologies such as microgrids to serve rural areas.

The goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all transportation sectors has motivated searches for alternative sources of fuels that will significantly lower these emissions. The success of a technology will depend on a number of factors including economic viability, infrastructure to support it, availability of feedstocks or other required resources, environmental impact and government policies and regulations supporting their development. This session will take a close look at the current market potential for transportation fuel technologies that include electricity, biofuels, CNG and hydrogen fuel cells with a special look at the progress being made in implementing the IMO 2020 sulphur cap requirements.

South Korea has won plaudits for its approach to containing the COVID-19 pandemic but is also using its coronavirus stimulus package to accelerate remaking its economy in a cleaner green way. The country earlier had under the Energy Policy Roadmap embarked on a path to utilize more renewable sources to generate electricity, to decrease the number of coal and nuclear-based plants, and to promote the use of hydrogen for automobiles and public transportation. The post virus New Green Deal included substantial investment in renewable energy, the introduction of a carbon tax and the phasing out of domestic and overseas coal financing by public sector institutions. This session will explore the present and future energy policy paths and their implementation, the challenges and opportunities for the country’s ambitious energy transition, and the role Korean industries will play in developing and deploying new technologies to meet these goals.

Planning and operating the grid has become more complex as new technologies create more dynamic systems and smarter, cleaner technologies offer new ways to generate electricity and manage energy at the local level and provide grid reliability while challenging the need for gas power plants. Under scrutiny for methane and carbon emissions, gas for uses other than electricity such as heating and cooking in buildings and homes are also facing greater scrutiny. This session will survey developments in several regions of the world as they transition their energy systems and debate the future role of natural gas.

Governments, companies and experts are increasingly looking to renewable hydrogen as a long-term pathway away from oil, natural gas and coal. National initiatives worldwide are establishing the economic and technical feasibility of scaling hydrogen production for transport, buildings and power generation while building on existing infrastructure such as natural gas pipelines. This session will take a close look at the key long-term growth drivers for hydrogen use and examine national and regional initiatives for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and charging stations, larger-scale pilot projects with industrial end-users, and a low-cost option for short- and long-term storage of renewable energy.

Natural gas has had a dramatic impact on improving air quality around the world. Substituting natural gas for coal has reduced emissions of GHG and other air pollutants and provided a quick win for GHG emissions reductions. This session will demonstrate the benefits of switching from coal to natural gas to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants by examining specific case studies from the four IGU reports Improving Urban Air Quality.

As the world moves to achieve its climate goals, a mix of low and zero-carbon gaseous fuels, such as biogas, biomethane, (blue and green) hydrogen, and synthetic methane could play a vital role in future energy markets and accelerate energy access in developing economies. This session will focus on the current status of producing and using biogas and renewable natural gas including the roles they play in the energy plans of different countries and regions of the world.

As natural gas gains increasing importance in global energy markets, the focus of investment is shifting towards the challenges of expanding energy infrastructure in emerging and developing economies.  While the traditional financing challenges in these countries are well documented, the growing awareness of the role that the financial systems can play in mitigating climate change has created a new set of challenges as investors not only shift their focus to clean energy and low carbon technologies, but seek to end new fossil fuel investments. This session will look at the trends in infrastructure investment and financing and how the industry is responding to investment risks and opportunities.

The revolution in shale gas development in North America has significantly influenced global gas markets.  However, the conditions for developing shale gas resources are very different among regions and nations. While shale gas development is a technologically driven process, favorable government policies, gas market conditions, mitigation of environmental concerns, and the existence of developed infrastructure are central to shale development. This session will provide an assessment of future prospects shale gas resources in Argentina, China and Saudi Arabia, the potential for their development, and the challenges in doing so.

The small-scale LNG (ssLNG) market can be segmented based on type (liquefaction terminal, regasification terminal), storage tank (pressurized, atmospheric, floating storage), supply mode (shipment, trucks, pipelines etc.) and application (heavy-duty vehicles, electric power generation, marine transport and others). These technologies are well placed to meet the growing demand from the shipping and trucking industries for fuels that are more environmentally friendly than oil and diesel and also enjoy advantages in addressing off-grid power generation for industrial and residential needs. This session will examine the technological developments in its key segments, the geography of ssLNG, and the market factors affecting growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic is shattering long-held assumptions about the global economic and political order, with a clear shift towards direct government involvement in national economies. Some see this development as an opportunity to accelerate investment in clean energy technologies while others argue those countries hit hardest by the pandemic are likely to opt for cheaper fossil fuels undermining long-term sustainable development. This session will explore what has been the effect of low fossil fuel prices and the economic consequences of COVID-19 on governments’ decarbonization agendas.

Interested in being a part of our program? For speaking enquiries please contact the WGC conference team at papers@wgc2021.org

© WGC 2021 National Organizing Committee

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