Global natural gas demand is expected to experience slower growth to 2026 after peaking in mature markets such as Europe and North America in 2021, a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.
The IEA’s annual medium-term gas market outlook said global gas demand was on course to increase by an average of 1.6% a year from 2022 to 2026.
This would be more slowly than the average annual rise of 2.5% between 2017 and 2021.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year resulted in lower supplies of pipeline gas to Europe from Russia, prompting a race for alternative energy supplies.
Overall gas demand from mature markets in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and North America peaked in 2021, and is forecast to decline by 1% annually to 2026, according to the report.
An accelerated roll-out of renewables and improved energy efficiency are among the key drivers behind the downward trend for natural gas in these markets.
For Europe, the loss of pipeline gas from Russia forced governments to seek alternative solutions to maintain energy security, the IEA said.
“After their heyday between 2011 and 2021, the world’s gas markets have entered a new and more uncertain period that is likely to be characterised by slower growth and higher volatility – and could lead to a peak in global demand by the end of this decade,” said Keisuke Sadamori, IEA director of energy markets and security.
Although consumption is set to decline in mature gas markets, any growth will be mainly concentrated in countries representing nearly half of global gas consumption – emerging markets in Asia, as well as gas-rich economies in the Middle East and Africa.
China alone is expected to account for almost half of the total growth in global gas demand between 2022 and 2026, drawing on the fuel to serve its industrial production, power sector and urban areas, the report said.