BP America Co. President Herb Vogel said Tuesday the abundant natural gas supplies in the United States and Canada — including indigenous supplies and regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) — are leading to “profound revolutionary changes.”

Vogel, the keynote speaker on Tuesday at GasMart 2010 in Chicago, said increased gas supplies would be instrumental in transitioning to a “low-carbon century.”

BP is pushing for more alternative energy sources to be used in conjunction with carbon capture and storage for coal emissions, increased gas for power generation and more nuclear generation, Vogel said. All of the increased power sources would be “underpinned” with by abundant new gas supplies.

The U.S. gas rig count fell as the economic took a dive in late 2008, but now the “overall U.S. gas rig count has recovered to surpass year-ago levels,” he said. And the turn has been easy to see with the uptick in unconventional gas plays “driven by acreage capture and higher liquids value.”

There are, of course, risks to increased unconventional gas drilling, already seen by more regulatory moves to ensure that hydraulic fracturing doesn’t adversely impact water resources. In addition, said Vogel, producers face new operating challenges, which include higher costs and training more people.

In BP’s view, however, gas offers the most reliable and secure way to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, all of which should be included in “prudent climate change action, which would include “an economy-wide carbon price, with transportation, industry, the power sector — including natural gas, renewables and coal — all competing on a level playing field.”

If the “necessary technology” is used within a “stable fiscal and regulatory framework,” it’s BP’s view that “natural gas can fundamentally transform the energy outlook and emissions profile in the decades — and now even in the low-carbon century — ahead.”

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