Is Natural Gas The World’s Fastest Growing Fossil Fuel?

The LNG carrier in Ishikari Bay, Japan
Credit: CC/とまりん♪

Though there is a slight sluggishness globally in the energy market and the downtrend in China’s growth, the energy demand will definitely grow over the next 20 years and even beyond that as the world economy will expand.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its latest International Energy Outlook (IEO2017) says, today natural gas has become the world’s fastest-growing fossil fuel, even outpacing liquid hydrocarbons (oil) and coal. The report further projects that the energy consumption will grow by 28% by the year 2040 taking the consumption of the year 2015 as the base.

Globally, demand for natural gas is expected to grow by 1.4% every year up to the year 2040, as compared with hydrocarbons growth of 0.7% and coal growth only at 0.1% per year. Most of the demand for natural gas is likely to come from countries which are not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and moreover from those countries where the demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia. The non-OECD Asia (which includes China and India) will account for more than 60% of the world’s total rise in energy consumption from 2015 through 2040. Though the demand is on the rise from OECD countries too. The rapidly expanding industrial sectors and increased demand from the power sector will together account for nearly 75% of the total growth.

Though the non-fossil fuels (renewables and nuclear) are expected to grow faster than fossil fuels, fossil fuels still account for more than three-quarters of world energy consumption. The liquid fuels (mostly petroleum-based) to remain the largest energy source even in the report by EIA, the projections say their share will come down to 30% by the year 2040. The fast-growing global awareness about climate change is also one of the major factors in the rising demand of gas in the energy sector, as natural gas has a much lower carbon intensity than coal and petroleum.

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