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Natural gas

2018 was a bonanza year for natural gas, with both global consumption and production increasing by over 5%, one of the strongest growth rates in either gas demand or output for over 30 years
Shah Deniz, Azerbaijan
“2018 was a bonanza year for natural gas, with both demand and production up by over 5%, its strongest growth rate for over 30 years. Much of this strength in demand was concentrated in two countries, the US and China. In the US, gas demand was boosted by weather effects. In China this year saw another year of mass coal-to-gas switching, driven by environmental policies trying to improve local air quality.”

Spencer Dale, group chief economist

Natural gas – consumption and production growth (annual change, bcm)
Global coal consumption (percentage contributions to annual growth)
Natural gas – largest annual increases in gas production (bcm)
Global coal production (percentage contributions to annual growth)

Natural gas consumption

Natural gas consumption rose by 195 billion cubic metres (bcm), or 5.3%, one of the fastest rates of growth since 1984.

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Growth in gas consumption was driven mainly by the US (78 bcm), supported by China which also saw above-average growth of 17.7% (43 bcm), Russia (23 bcm) and Iran (16 Bcm). The US gas consumption increase of 78 Bcm last year is broadly equivalent to the entire gas consumption of the UK.

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China’s strong growth was largely from a continuation of environmental policies encouraging coal-to-gas switching in industry and buildings in order to improve local air quality, together with robust growth in industrial activity during the first half of the year.

Natural gas consumption per capita 2018 (tonnes oil equivalent)
Natural gas consumption per capita 2017 (tonnes oil equivalent)
Sources
Includes data from Cedigaz.

Natural gas production

Global natural gas production increased by 190 bcm, or 5.2%.

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Almost half of this came from the US (86 bcm), which (as with oil production) recorded the largest annual growth seen by any country in history. The US production increase was driven by shale plays in Marcellus, Haynesville and Permian. Russia (34 bcm), Iran (19 bcm) and Australia (17 bcm) were the next largest contributions to growth.

Natural gas production by region (billion cubic metres)
Natural gas production by region (billion cubic metres)
Sources
Includes data from Cedigaz.

Natural gas reserves

World proved gas reserves in 2018 increased by 0.7 Tcm to 196.9 Tcm mainly as result of increased reserves in Azerbaijan (0.8 Tcm).

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Russia (38.9 Tcm), Iran (31.9 Tcm) and Qatar (24.7 Tcm) are the countries with the biggest reserves.

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The current global R/P ratio shows that gas reserves in 2018 accounted for 50.9 years of current production, 2.4 years lower than in 2017. Middle East (109.9 years) and CIS (75.6 years) are the regions with the highest R/P ratio.

Reserves to production (R/P) ratios (2018 by region)
Reserves to production (R/P) ratios (2017 by region)
Reserves to production (R/P) ratios – history (years)
Reserves to production (R/P) ratios – history (years)
Sources
The estimates for proved gas reserves have been compiled using a combination of primary official sources and third party data from Cedigaz and the OPEC Secretariat.

Natural gas trade movements

福利视频Growth in inter-regional natural gas trade was 39 bcm or 4.3%, more than double the 10-year average, driven largely by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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福利视频LNG supply growth came mainly from Australia (15 bcm), the US (11 bcm) and Russia (9 bcm) as a number of new liquefaction plants either started or ramped up. China accounted for half of the increase in imports (21 bcm).

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Russian pipeline exports to Europe were largely unchanged on the year, maintaining the record levels built up in recent years, although with a slight decline in their share of Europe’s gas imports.?

Natural gas trade movements 2018 – trade flows worldwide (billion cubic metres)
Natural gas trade movements 2017 – trade flows worldwide (billion cubic metres)

Sources
Includes data from FGE MENAgas service, IHS.

Natural gas prices

Asian and European gas spot prices have remained elevated during most of 2018, in response to higher oil, coal, and CO2 prices as well as a relatively tight LNG market. But weaker Asian demand combined with higher LNG exports led prices to drop towards the end of the year.

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In contrast, Henry Hub prices were stable for most of 2018, but rebounded in the last quarter due to low US storage levels.

Natural gas prices ($/mmBtu)
Natural gas prices ($/mmBtu)
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