China To Continue Driving Global Gas Growth: IEA
Following another record year for global gas demand, Asian demand will continue powering the growth of the global gas industry over the next five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast in a report released June 7.
Demand for natural gas grew 4.6% in 2018, its fastest annual pace since 2010, according to the IEA’s latest annual market report, Gas 2019. Consumption is expected to expand by a further 10% in the next five years, to total over 4.3 trillion m³ by 2024.
China is expected to account for more than 40% of that growth, propelled by state efforts to shift away from coal to improve air quality. Chinese gas consumption grew 18% in 2018 but is expected to slow to an average annual rate of 8% to 2024 as a result of slower economic growth.
Other fast-growing Asian economies are also forecast to make significant contributions to global demand growth. In particular, the fertiliser industries of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, are set to expand to meet the needs of growing populations. The Asia-Pacific region will remain the largest source of gas consumption growth with an average rate of 4% per annum, and will account for around 60% of the total consumption increase.
Demand in the US, Middle East and North Africa, will also contribute to the growth in demand, the IEA said. In Europe, consumption should be spurred by the shutdown of coal and nuclear power plants, but gains would be limited by the expansion of renewables and lower demand for heating.
Globally, the industrial sector is expected to be a strong source of growth, accounting for almost half of the global increase to 2024 and replacing power generation as the main growth driver.
“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 IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol. “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.”