Demand for Natural Gas: Trends and Drivers


This chapter deals with the trends and evolution of world gas demand from a global and a regional perspective. The survey covers a 50-year period, starting in 1980 and encompassing forecasts through to 2030. After examining the main consuming regions (Europe, North America and Asia), the chapter will focus on the main European economies and the increasing role of natural gas for power generation.

All the studies we considered expect world gas demand to grow rapidly until at least 2020 and probably even later, to 2030. The rise in gas consumption is mainly due to power generation; residential and industrial customers will play an important role too, though of less importance than the power sector. Transport is likely to remain only very marginal.

Over the past decade the main drivers behind investment in gas fuelled power plants has been the search for economic and environmentally efficient energy sources. The developed countries have increased their consumption to meet the tighter environmental laws, while the emerging countries are trying to reduce their use of coal and oil in the long term for economic/efficiency reasons as well as for environmental sustainability.

Despite rocketing gas prices in recent years, the next decade will see a broad inertia. Gas seems to remain the main fuel for new power plants at least in the European scenario. Massive investment in nuclear power appears unlikely and, in any case, will take time to be implemented. Oil is inefficient and there is a tendency to restrict its use primarily to transportation. Coal is chiefly used in the early stages of economic development, though we might envisage a return to this source in the event of successful and economic development of carbon sequestration and storage technologies. Renewable sources are not expected to make a major contribution even in the medium term.


Primary Energy Consumption Energy Study Total Instal Capacity World Energy Outlook International Energy Outlook 
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