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IGU welcomes World Energy Outlook findings

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The International Gas Union (IGU) has welcomed the findings in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest World Energy Outlook (WEO), which suggest that natural gas remains the second fastest growing energy source after renewables through to 2040, with global consumption rising 45% under the New Policies Scenario.

This year’s WEO states that “natural gas demand in 2040 has been revised up by almost 100 billion m3” compared with its 2017 WEO, with demand growing 1.6% per year to 2040. The WEO attributes a large part of this revision to a tripling of gas demand in China due to strong policy efforts in improving air quality, in a drive to “turn China’s skies blue again.”

These revised growth projections emphasise the continued importance of natural gas as a vital part of the global energy mix both now and in future. With China as a strong proof point, it also demonstrates the important role of natural gas in the sustainable energy future in improving air quality and contributing towards reductions in harmful emissions.

Professor Joo-Myung Kang, President of the IGU, said: “This year’s WEO highlights two core attributes of natural gas in the energy mix – its role in ensuring energy security, and its sustainable role as an essential element in effective clean air policies. Gas plays a crucial role in ensuring security of supply – especially with regards to meeting seasonal peaks in heating demand that cannot be met cost-effectively by electricity. Similarly, it acts as an essential pillar in any clean air policy, particularly through coal-to-gas switching initiatives and in reducing harmful pollutants.”

The Outlook also looks in depth at the role of gas in emerging Asian economies, which account for half the total demand growth through 2040. With rapidly urbanising populations, and citizens that are becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of economic development, gas plays a critical role as an affordable and efficient fuel that aleviates these concerns. The report also emphasises the potential for further growth in market share, with gas currently accounting for only 10% of the region’s energy mix.

Further findings and projections relating to the natural gas market in the WEO include:

  • The US accounts for 40% of total gas production growth to 2025.
  • Natural gas overtakes coal by 2030 to become the second-largest source of energy after oil.
  • Industry takes over from power generation as the main sector for growth in natural gas.
  • China’s gas consumption moves from being roughly half that of the EU today to 75% higher by 2040.
  • Natural gas demand in Africa more than doubles in the period to 2040.
  • In power generation, the peaking capacity of gas doubles from 2017 to 2040 in the new policies scenario, exceeding 600 GW.
  • Around US$380 billion of investment will be needed each year for natural gas supply.
  • The required investment for LNG infrastructure amounts to US$35 billion per year on average.

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