Global LNG output is expected to reach 360mn tonnes and account for 13% of global gas supply by 2020, energy major Total has said in a report.
In 2010, LNG amounted to 9% of global gas consumption with production of nearly 220mn tonnes.
Over the next 10 years, natural gas will play an increasingly important role in meeting the world’s energy needs. LNG, whose many advantages include flexibility and ease of transport, will be instrumental in this “coming of age”, particularly in meeting Asian and European demand.
With demand rising at an average 3% a year for more than 30 years, natural gas has posted more dynamic gains than any other fossil fuel.
Total views the growing role of natural gas as one of the fundamentals of the future energy trends.
According to Total’s estimates, demand for gas will rise at an annual rate of 2.5% from 2010 to 2030, outstripping demand growth for crude oil (1.1%) and coal (0.2%). At that pace, natural gas should rise to second place among fossil energies by 2030, capturing a greater share (24%) of the energy mix than coal for the first time.
Over the past two decades, Total said, LNG has emerged as increasingly core feature of the global gas balance, with growth of about 7% a year since 2000. Its contribution to meeting natural gas demand has risen unabated.
Because it makes transporting gas over long distances both technically and economically feasible, the LNG value chain creates many opportunities for gas-producing and consuming countries alike.
Although North America is still the “biggest” gas market by far, Total said Asia and Europe have quickly emerged as the major LNG import markets. Asia alone absorbed 60% of global LNG output in 2010, representing a volume of more than 130mn tonnes, which covered some 31% of the overall gas demand.
In countries that lack domestic production or gas import pipeline networks, LNG is the sole source of gas supply.
In China and India, even increases in domestic production and pipeline imports will not suffice to keep pace with skyrocketing local demand. These countries should this be major contributors to growth in Asian LNG demand, Total said.
Europe, Total said, is the world’s second major LNG consumer, trailing only Asia. In 2010, LNG met 15% of its gas needs with an import volume of 64mn tonnes.