Russia remains the largest gas producer in 2035 and makes the largest contribution to global supply growth, followed by China, Qatar, the United States and Australia.
There is much less uncertainty over the outlook for natural gas: factors both on the supply and demand sides point to a bright future, even a golden age, for natural gas. Our Outlook reinforces the main conclusions of a WEO special report released in June 2011: gas consumption rises in all three scenarios, underlining how gas does well under a wide range of future policy directions. In the New Policies Scenario, demand for gas all but reaches that for coal, with 80% of the additional demand coming from non-OECD countries. Policies promoting fuel diversification support a major expansion of gas use in China; this is met through higher domestic production and through an increasing share of LNG trade and Eurasian pipeline imports. Global trade doubles and more than one-third of the increase goes to China. Russia remains the largest gas producer in 2035 and makes the largest contribution to global supply growth, followed by China, Qatar, the United States and Australia. Unconventional gas now accounts for half of the estimated natural gas resource base and it is more widely dispersed than conventional resources, a fact that has positive implications for gas security. The share of unconventional gas rises to one-fifth of total gas production by 2035, although the pace of this development varies considerably by region. The growth in output will also depend on the gas industry dealing successfully with the environmental challenges: a golden age of gas will require golden standards for production. Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, but increased use of gas in itself (without carbon capture and storage) will not be enough to put us on a carbon emissions path consistent with limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 2°C.