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Japan nuclear crisis could boost gas -Shell CEO

Reuters Africa

Sunday March 20, 2011

BEIJING, March 20 (Reuters) – A rethink about nuclear energy after Japan’s earthquake could boost demand for natural gas, the head of Royal Dutch Shell said on Sunday.

This would play to Shell’s strength because it produces more gas than oil, Chief Executive Peter Voser told Reuters.

But he cautioned that it would take time to draw firm conclusions about the impact of Japan’s nuclear crisis on global energy markets.

“We need to see how the nuclear policies of various governments and countries will evolve and the lessons that need to be taken into account from Japan,” he said. “There will be higher demand for gas in the medium term and longer term.”

Both global oil and gas prices will rise in the medium term because of increase demand and falling investment in recent years, he said on the sidelines of a forum in Beijing.

“I see in the medium and longer term clearly some potential difficulties as demand is growing faster than supply,” Voser said. “It takes quite a while before supply can actually react to a higher demand. Investment levels over the past two or three years were falling.”

In the aftermath of Japan’s devastating earthquake and loss of nuclear power, Shell has been rushing to deliver liquefied natural gas. Two extra shipments arrived last week and Voser said another two were likely to arrive in April.

“We are together with our customers looking to further (increase) supply so that we can help the Japanese economy to restart,” he said.

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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