Global natural gas consumption is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.6% per year until 2024, reaching over 4.3 trillion cubic meters (tcm), compared to 3.9 tcm in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) latest "Gas 2019" report.
The IEA said that the Asia Pacific region will account for over half of total growth in natural gas consumption until 2024, with an average growth rate of 4% per year, led by China’s strong economic and policy driven push for natural gas development.
Other fast-growing economies such as India, Pakistan or Bangladesh are also expected to provide strong contributions to consumption growth, providing that natural gas remains competitive and affordable in these highly price-sensitive markets.
The report showed with a graphic that North American gas demand keeps growing at an average annual rate of 1% thanks to abundant domestic resources, and is mainly supported by export-driven industry and energy sector needs in the U.S.
The Middle East sees its consumption grow by over 2% per year until 2024, pushed by its increasing structural need for cooling, water desalination and other electricity uses.
Both Africa and Central and South America are expected to grow by 2.7% and 1.2% respectively, yet in both cases prospects for further regional integration remain limited and growth is concentrated in gas-producing countries.
"Europe, Eurasia and Japan experience limited growth - and even some decline in the latter two. In Europe, potential growth due to nuclear and coal phase-out plans is constrained by the development of renewables and limited growth for industrial and residential uses," the IEA explained.
"Eurasian demand is impacted by efficiency gains in the gas-fired power generation fleet, while the expected progressive restart of nuclear reactors and development of renewables in Japan reduce the need for gas."
Weather conditions affect natural gas consumption for residential and commercial uses in particular, and power generation to some extent for cooling needs, especially in North America.
By Murat Temizer