Natural Gas Consumption Booming in Developing Asian Countries Led by China

Future growth in natural gas consumption will be concentrated in developing nations, especially in Asian, including China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Vietnam, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest International Energy Outlook 2019.

Annual natural gas consumption in non-OECD Asia is expected to reach 120 billion cubic feet per day by 2050, outpacing regional production by 50 billion cubic feet per day. This supply imbalance widens through the projection period, resulting in non-OECD Asia’s increasing reliance on natural gas imports from other regions, especially North America.

According to the agency, booming economies stemming from higher levels of consumer demand and industrial output are driving up the demand for natural gas in non-OECD Asia. China continues to be the largest natural gas consumer in non-OECD Asia: in 2050, EIA expects that China will consume nearly three times as much natural gas as it did in 2018. China’s projected increase in natural gas consumption is greater than the combined growth of natural gas consumption in all other non-OECD Asian countries. Natural gas electricity generation in China has been progressively displacing coal-fired units as air pollution remains a major concern for Chinese citizens in major metropolitan areas like Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei.

China’s transportation sector will also contribute to growth in natural gas consumption in the EIA forecast, driven mostly by increased natural gas demand in truck and rail freight transport. According to the agency, natural gas consumption in China’s transportation sector will grow from less than 1 quadrillion Btu in 2018 to nearly 6 quadrillion Btu in 2050.