Feature Reports

Natural Gas Producers and Consumers

© ZYLBERMAN LAURENT / TOTAL

Natural gas is the third most widely used energy source worldwide. Reserves are more widely distributed geographically than oil, although almost half of conventional reserves are located in Russia, Iran and Qatar. The United States is the world’s leading gas producer. It produces shale gas, a so-called unconventional natural gas. 

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Featured Figures

Global Gas Consumption

Global gas consumption jumped 3% between 2016 and 2017, a twofold increase year on year. 


Growth was largely driven by China (up 15%), where natural gas is being used to stem the use of coalCoal is ranked by its degree of transformation or maturity, increasing in carbon content from... in powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... generation and individual heating. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA)An independent, intergovernmental organization founded within the framework of the OECD..., China will become the world’s largest gas importer in 2019. China is also a major consumer of liquefied natural gas (LNG)LNG is composed almost entirely of methane. Liquefying the gas reduces its initial volume by a factor of around 600..., absorbing 40% of global supply. 


Several European countries, such as Germany and Italy, are also lifting global demand. 

 

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Global Gas Production

Global gas production increased 4% between 2016 and 2017, after remaining largely stable between 2015 and 2016. Growth was driven by the United States and Russia, the world’s leading gas producers.


Shale gasShale gas is found in deeply buried clayey sedimentary rock that is both the source rock and the reservoir for the gas... production picked up again in the United States, rising 1% after a decline in the prior year. In 2017, the United States swung from being a net importer to a net exporter. 


Production surged 8.2% in Russia in 2017, driven by rising demand across the world, particularly in Europe and China. Russia has commissioned several gas pipelines, which should enable the country to expand its export capacities in the coming years.


Production increased in Iran – the third largest contributor to global output – to meet national needs and for the purpose of exporting to neighboring countries, particularly Turkey. Qatar’s production declined, but should bounce back with the development of North Field. Several major gas fields were brought on stream in Egypt, which should enable the country to boost production after seven years of decline. 

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Featured Figures

Global Natural Gas Reserves

The figures below correspond to proved natural gas reserves, in other words identified deposits from which gas can be recovered under existing economic and operating conditions. 


Three countries – Iran, Russia and Qatar – currently hold nearly half of the world’s identified conventional natural gas reserves. Unconventional gas reserves (shale gasShale gas is found in deeply buried clayey sedimentary rock that is both the source rock and the reservoir for the gas..., coalbed gas, tight gas and methane (ch4)The main component of natural gas deposits and oil deposit gas caps. Methane is produced naturally by landfills... hydrates) have been estimated at much higher but more uncertain volumes. 


Today, shale gas is chiefly mined in the United States. However, estimates show that China, Argentina and Algeria also have significant natural gas resources.

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