Natural gas demand grew at a remarkable clip last year, increasing by 4.6%, its highest growth rate since the beginning of the decade. Future growth will be more measured, supported by economic expansion in emerging markets – especially in Asia – and sustained policy support in China to battle air pollution.
The supplies to meet that new growth will come from both new domestic production in these fast-growing economies but also increasingly from major exporting countries, led by the development of the abundant shale gas resources in the United States. International trade, supported by the strong growth in liquefied natural gas export capacity, will play a growing role in the development of natural gas markets as they move further towards globalisation. The recent convergence in market prices in major regions provides an indication of this increasing integration. However, establishing market-driven pricing mechanisms in fast-growing countries remains a challenge – albeit one that is being addressed by pricing reforms in several leading emerging economies around the world.
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