Mar 19, 2024 - Technology

Gas execs see tailwinds from AI power needs

Illustration of a glowing lightning bolt symbol filled with binary code.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

HOUSTON — Gas industry officials are citing power-thirsty artificial intelligence growth and data center needs more broadly as they project strong future demand.

Why it matters: Generative AI is joining with other advanced computing, electric vehicles, crypto-mining, new manufacturing and more to start sending U.S. power demand sharply upward after many years of largely flat consumption.

State of play: "AI and data centers are going to require a lot more energy, and that means a lot more energy produced," Mike Sommers, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, told Axios recently.

  • "They're going to need energy that can run 24 hours. And what that means is we're going to need a lot more natural gas."
  • And Mike Sabel, CEO of LNG heavyweight Venture Global, told reporters Sunday that global power needs for AI are among the reasons why they see a robust long-term market.

Friction point: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm noted Monday that some tech companies are ensuring "clean" power fuels data centers, but added more is needed.

  • "I think for utilities and for data centers ... there's a different conversation that needs to be had about, if you want to build a data center, can you bring your own clean power with you, what does that look like," she told CERAWeek.

What's next: Look for AI growth to increasingly factor into energy market analyses — and policy battles.

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