Cedigaz: Global gas demand continues to slow

Cedigaz’s Natural Gas in the World 2016 report confirms the provisional estimates published early May, showing a moderate natural gas demand growth in 2015 for the third year in a row.

Global gas demand rose 1.6%, still below the 10-year growth rate of 2.2% despite low gas prices. The global marketed gas production growth was again led by the US and its shale gas.

According to Cedigaz, like in 2014, the gas expansion was constrained by some demand side factors that have offset the impact of low gas prices: intense competition with cheaper coal—and oil in China—in both industrialized and emerging markets, the development of nuclear and renewables, as well as increased energy efficiency, weak power generation growth, and the sluggish economic context.

World gross gas production increased at a lower rate of 1.3% to 4,359 billion cu m in 2015, but quantities of reinjected gas decreased substantially, down 3.6% to 441 billion cu m. Global flaring was estimated up 2.1% to 134 billion cu m. Moreover, production losses related to both processing and field operations surged 5.7% to 292 billion cu m.

According to Cedigaz revised statistics, world actual gas consumption, which takes stock changes into account, increased 1.5% to 3,471 billion cu m in 2015, marking a recovery after a relative stagnation (0.3%) recorded in 2014. However, this apparent recovery was mostly the result of a weather driven rebound in the European Union (4.5%). In Asia-Oceania, gas consumption was rather stable, representing an historic rupture after 3 decades of buoyant expansion.

In a context of rising demand in Europe, by far the leading import zone, international gas trade, including LNG reexports, increased strongly by 3.1% to 1,043 billion cu m, fueled by both pipeline trade (3.4%) and LNG flows (2.4%).

After several years of little or no increase, total net LNG imports regained momentum in 2015, up 2.8% to 323 billion cu m. Lower demand in Asia was compensated by recent emerging markets, while Europe became a market of last resort in a context of healthy supply. Due to the LNG glut in Asia, the spread between National Balancing Point and Northeast Asian spot prices narrowed considerably as compared with 2014, limiting LNG arbitrage possibilities between Asia and Europe.

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