Global natural gas demand remained weak in 2014, falling well below its ten-year average. High prices for gas in the past two years undermined its competitiveness, bringing to light a harsh reality: in a world of cheap coal and falling costs for renewables, gas has laboured to compete. Although Asia has been regarded as an engine of future gas demand growth, the fuel has struggled to expand its share of the market in many parts of the region. This has raised questions over the viability of gas as an attractive strategic option across Asia.
The context for gas markets is changing rapidly, however. Falling oil prices have resulted in much lower gas prices in many parts of the word. As a result, gas demand is enjoying the tailwind of substantial price drops while the upstream sector is suffering amid large capital expenditure cuts. The interaction of these opposing effects on gas markets is examined in the IEA Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2015, which provides a detailed analysis of global demand, supply and trade developments through 2020. The impact on global gas markets of Russia’s strategic shift in its gas export policy and the rising tide of liquefied natural gas supplies are given careful consideration. Two special insights also feature in this report. The first analyses the progress Europe has made in strengthening its gas infrastructure since 2010 and the major bottlenecks that still remain in enhancing the security of supply in the region. The second takes a close look at reforms to the gas and electricity sector in Mexico, investigating their impacts on North American gas markets.