Demand for natural gas last year grew at its fastest annual pace since 2010, accounting for almost half the increase in primary energy consumption worldwide.
And demand is expected to rise by more than 10 per cent over the next five years, driven by strong consumption in fast-growing Asian economies.
The 4.6 per cent growth of natural gas in 2018 is tracked by the International Energy Agency in its latest annual market report, Gas 2019.
“Natural gas helped to reduce air pollution and limit the rise in energy-related CO2 emissions by displacing coal and oil in power generation, heating and industrial uses,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.
“Natural gas can contribute to a cleaner global energy system. But it faces its own challenges, including remaining price competitive in emerging markets and reducing methane emissions along the natural gas supply chain.”
Power generation remains the largest consumer of natural gas, in spite of slower growth due to strong competition from renewables and coal.
The IEA report highlights that China is expected to account for more than 40 per cent of global gas demand growth between now and 2024, propelled by the government’s goal of improving air quality by shifting away from coal.
The report states that Chinese natural gas consumption grew 18 per cent in 2018 – but it is expected to slow to an average annual rate of 8 per cent to 2024 as a result of slower economic growth.
The IEA also sees strong growth in gas consumption in other Asian countries, particularly in South Asia. In Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, the industrial sector is the main contributor to growth, especially for fertilisers to meet the needs of growing populations.
The report predicts that the industrial use of natural gas as a fuel and a feedstock will expand at an average annual rate of 3 per cent and account for almost half of the rise in global consumption to 2024.
To access the IEA report, click here.