Natural gas - 2015 in review

World natural gas consumption grew by 1.7% in 2015, a significant increase from the very weak growth (+0.6%) seen in 2014 but still below the 10-year average of 2.3%

Consumption and production

As with oil, consumption growth was below average outside the OECD (+1.9%, accounting for 53.5% of global consumption) but above average in the OECD countries (+1.5%). Among emerging economies, Iran (+6.2%) and China (+4.7%) recorded the largest increments to consumption, even though growth in China was sluggish compared with a 10-year average growth of 15.1%. Meanwhile, Russia (-5%) recorded the largest volumetric decline, followed by the Ukraine (-21.8%). Among OECD countries, the US (+3%) accounted for the largest growth increment, while EU consumption (+4.6%) rebounded after a large decline in 2014. Globally, natural gas accounted for 23.8% of primary energy consumption. 

Global natural gas production grew by 2.2%, more rapidly than consumption but below its 10-year average of 2.4%. As with consumption, the US (+5.4%) recorded the largest growth increment, with Iran (+5.7%) and Norway (+7.7%) also recording significant increases in production. Growth was above average in North America, Africa, and Asia Pacific. EU production once again fell sharply (-8%), with the Netherlands (-22.8%) recording the world’s largest decline. Large volumetric declines were also seen in Russia (-1.5%) and Yemen (-71.5%).


Global natural gas trade rebounded in 2015, rising by 3.3%. Pipeline shipments increased by 4%, driven by growth in net pipeline exports from Russia (+7.7%) and Norway (+7%). The largest volumetric increases in net pipeline imports were in Mexico (+44.9%) and France (+28.8%). Global LNG trade increased by 1.8%. Export growth was led by Australia (+25.3%) and Papua New Guinea (+104.8%), offsetting declines in shipments from Yemen (-77.2%). Higher net LNG imports for Europe (+15.9%) and rising Middle Eastern imports (+93.8%) were partly offset by declines in net imports in South Korea (-10.4%) and Japan (-4%). International natural gas trade accounted for 30.1% of global consumption; the pipeline share of global gas trade rose to 67.5%.

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