Eni Chief: High Pump Prices Could Push U.S. Truck Fleets Toward Natural Gas

March 6, 2012
Demand from China and fears about nuclear energy could increase global consumption well beyond current estimates.

HOUSTON -- U.S. truck fleets could switch to dual fuel systems that utilize both natural gas and gasoline if pump prices remain, said Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Italian oil and gas giant Eni, March 6.

The nation could save as much as $40 billion a year if a massive fuel-switching movement takes place, said Scaroni during the IHS CERA Week energy conference in Houston.

Future U.S. natural gas consumption will be one of a number of factors contributing to forecasted global consumption increases by 2020, Scaroni said.

Global consumption will grow significantly by 2020 but how much will depend on expansion in developing economies, the fate of nuclear power as well as demand from the transportation sector, Scaroni said.

Concerns over the safety of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan could fuel additional natural gas demand.

Eni has made minor investments in U.S. shale gas but doesn't see the United States as a potential growth market for the company.

The company's U.S. investments have primarily been designed as opportunities to learn from the nation's technological expertise in natural gas drilling, Scaroni said.

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