In his introduction the CHAIRMAN briefly reviewed the main topics of the session. The first paper, by M. T. HALBOUTY, was an attempt to make an intelligent guess on the amount of gas still to be found.
The second paper, by H. R. GRUNAU, concentrated on the elusive problem of gas generation and migration during geological times. A better understanding of these problems might help us in finding additional gas. The third paper which, in the absence of any of the authors, was presented by Y. F. MAKOGON, was concerned with the composition of natural gas, in particular with the forecasting of gas composition based on a better understanding of the depositional environment. Hopefully this would help to optimize the development and utilization of gas resources. The fourth and last paper, by J. S. MOORE, discussed the problem of producing gas under extreme conditions.
This paper demonstrated that, given proper incentives, large discovered resources can be turned into economic reserves.
As a general comment Mr. KENT (Vice-Chairman) noted that, perhaps somewhat in contrast with the oil reserves situation, there seems to be no reason for pessimism as far as gas resources are concerned. The problem rather appeared to be that of finding a market for the gas. In this context he raised the question of the extent to which gas could be used to replace oil. Mr. HALBOUTY was confident that gas, as well as oil, would eventually find its way to the customer. Mr. VAN ENGELSHOVEN, while agreeing in principle, stressed that one should not underestimate the considerable technical and economic obstacles that have to be overcome to bring the large gas reserves available in many parts of the world (Nigeria, Malaysia, Middle East, Australia) to the market. This problem can be solved only if the right economic incentives are provided for all parties involved.
The question arose of whether, in view of the hopeful outlook for gas, there is still a need for the development of alternative energy sources.
Mr. VAN ENGELSHOVEN stressed that gas, although still plentiful today, is a non-renewable source and that the development of alternative energy sources will take many years. Hence, current research and development efforts, e.g. in the areas of shale oil, tar sands and coal gasification should certainly continue, in spite of the fact that these activities are unlikely to pay off for a long time to come.
In reply to a question from Mr. BALL, Mr. VAN ENGELSHOVEN agreed that economic incentives are indeed a prerequisite for exploration and development of gas, especially in remote areas.
In reply to a question fro