The global economic crisis has not spared the gas sector. Over the past year, we have moved from a tight supply and demand balance with extremely high gas prices to an easing one with plummeting gas prices. Since the last quarter of 2008, demand has been declining dramatically, essentially because of the global recession. Yet significant new volumes of liquefied natural gas will come on stream within the next few years, and United States unconventional gas production has risen rapidly, with global consequences. It remains to be seen how these demand and supply pressures will play out, particularly in the pivotal power sector, in both OECD and non-OECD countries.
Meanwhile, the security of gas supplies has once again become a critical issue, in particular in Europe after it experienced its worst supply disruption during the Russian-Ukraine crisis in January 2009.
Moreover, the current market climate of weakening demand, lower prices and regulatory uncertainties added to the tough financial environment are likely to jeopardise investments, in particular in capital-intensive projects, further undermining long-term energy security in the most fundamental way when economies recover.
The Gas Market Review 2009 looks at these and other major developments and challenges in the different parts of the gas value chain in a selection of IEA countries – The United States, Canada, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, and Turkey – as well as in non-IEA member countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and China.