Demand for natural gas in Asia is expected to rise substantially in the coming years, driven by the substanstial growth in China, India and Southeast Asia, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol said during a speech on the global energy outlook.
This trend is already evident in China, where natural gas consumption has risen by 4% to 14.5 billion m3 in October 2015 compared with 2014, according to the country’s National Development and Reform Commission. The total gas use was 149.6 billion m3 in the first 10 months of 2015, a 2.5% increase from 2014.
China is the world’s third largest importer of gas and has yearly gas demand of 49.3 billion m3 but has only 3% of the world’s gas reserves, leading to a 41.3% spike in natural gas imports this March, compared with the same period in 2014.
Rising gas demand amidst plateauing economic growth has led the Chinese government to cut gas prices for a second time this year midway through November in the hope that this will lead to an expansion in the industry.
The 30% price cut may help the flagging manufacturing sector particularly, as the country records its slowest growth since 2009: 6.9% in 3Q15.
Natural gas production levels, however, are expected to keep pace with this growth in demand when looking at the Asian gas markets overall, Birol added. According to Research and Markets, energy demand in Southeast Asia is expected to increase substantially over the next five years. The market research firm believes there will also be higher industrial growth, gross domestic product (GDP), and increased urbanisation.Iran plans to export natural gas to China and other Asian countries following the lifting of international sanctions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week.
Edited from various sources by Francesca Brindle
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