KUALA LUMPUR -- Oil & gas companies can help promote the use of natural gas, together with renewable energy as the cleaner fuel option to sustain economic growth, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

He said now is the right time to encourage the adoption of natural gas in new markets as prices have become attractive, aided by the right investment in infrastructure.

"I am hopeful that companies and governments can form 'smart' partnerships to unlock the full potential of natural gas as a viable option, which makes both commercial and environmental sense.

It is important that we see these two motives as supporting one another, not being in opposition," he said in his keynote address at the 19th Asia Oil and Gas Conference here Monday as quoted by state news agency Bernama.

He said oil & gas companies can also help push the technological envelope to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emitted during industry processes.

Najib said the abundance of gas discoveries had helped spur growth of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in the Middle East, the Asia Pacific and Australia.

"The emergence of more producers, increased supplies and competitive gas prices has transformed LNG into an attractive energy resource for emerging economies, and one that also had the benefit of being far less carbon intensive.

"I strongly believe that industry players can collaborate to support the wider adoption of LNG by offering innovative commercial solutions and technical assistance to nations with a fledgling interest in this sector," he said.He said the International Energy Agency (IEA) had predicted that global energy demand would double by 2050, not least because of a rising global population, and legacy industry players need to work harder and realign strategic priorities to remain relevant and sustainable in the long run.

Najib said the oil and gas industry continued to be on the leading edge in adopting new technologies to raise efficiency and productivity.

"With the rise of the Internet of Things, the increasing use of big data analytics and automation, the industry will be able to deliver more energy resources at better prices," he added.

Themed, "New Reality-Driving a New Approach", the two-day conference brings together eminent industry leaders, policymakers and delegates from around the world.

Source: Emirates News Agency