Natural gas is an 'indispensable' part of the global energy mix needed to limit the impact of climate change and protect the environment, the Gas Exporting Countries' Forum (GECF) said Friday.
In a communique following the GECF's 5th Gas Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the forum said natural gas is of "vital importance" to ensure global energy security, S&P Global reported.
The summit declaration acknowledges the "indispensable contribution of natural gas to the protection of the environment and, in particular, for mitigating and adapting to climate change."
GECF is made up of the world's biggest gas exporters including the big hitters Russia, Qatar and Iran and holds around 60% of the world's proven gas reserves.
Although often referred to loosely as the "Gas OPEC', the forum is more of an advisory body rather than one that takes collective policy action.
The comments come amid an emerging ground-swell of climate concerns over fast-growing global gas consumption as part of a push to sideline fossil fuels in favor of clean, renewable energy.
Natural gas has emerged as the fasted growing fossil fuel in recent years, accounting for 45% of the rise in energy consumption in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency.
Led by China and the Middle East, the IEA sees global demand for natural gas growing more than four times faster than demand for oil over the next two decades.
The GEFC said it wants to further promote the use of natural gas as an "environmentally-friendly" transport fuel including for global shipping.