Global natural gas demand grew just 1.2% in 2013, underperforming other fuels, because of a slow economy, supply constraints, sluggish LNG trade, and competition from coal and renewables in the power sector. Growth in non-OECD countries, which had buoyed global demand over the past decade, retreated to nearly the same pace as in OECD countries. Without the effect of colder weather in OECD countries, demand there would have actually fallen and global demand would have been unchanged.
The IEA Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2014 gives a detailed analysis of demand, supply and trade developments as well as infrastructure investments to meet the 2.2% annual growth in gas demand expected through 2019. It investigates the important changes that will transform the industry: rising regional disparities between gas-hungry regions such as China and the Middle East against weakening growth in the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and Europe; competition between FSU supplies and LNG from the United States and Australia, notably in Europe and Asia; the shift towards net imports in non-OECD Asia and Latin America; and uncertainty over whether Europe can ease its dependency on Russian gas. Besides enhanced coverage of gas in the power sector, this year’s report features special focuses on the potential of gas in maritime transport; the competition between oil and gas to meet fast-growing power consumption in the Middle East; the implications of Iran’s possible return to the international gas scene; and the interplay of natural gas liquids and natural gas in the United States.