Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Natural Gas Market Developments: The Way Ahead
Natural gas, having for decades been reserved primarily for the nobler industrial uses, and basically possessing no captive market, has now become the fuel of choice in many key consuming sectors. Over the years, when available at competitive prices, gas has seized emerging growth opportunities, strengthening its position in the residential and industrial sectors, and even more intensively in the power sector.
Market expansion, technological innovation and supply-source diversification are now reshaping the global energy landscape. Driven by annual economic growth estimated to average 3.4% during the period 2004-2030, world energy demand could grow by about 1.6% p.a. on average by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency (WEO 2006). This means that by then the world will need about half as much more energy than is used today. Fossil fuels are assumed to remain the dominant sources of primary energy, accounting for close to 83% of the overall increase between 2004 and 2030.
These potential developments, whilst undoubtedly offering the gas industry new growth opportunities, also imply a number of challenges that the industry will have to meet in order for gas to make a major contribution to the energy industry of the 21st century.