The natural gas production and consumption charts below are fairly self explanatory. We have prepared these based on data to 2012 and forecast through to 2015. It shows clearly a gigantic increase in the production (and hence consumption) of natural gas over the years. It also demonstrates those countries with increasing gas surpluses such as Qatar, USA and Russia versus countries with greater gas imports.
For the UK, gas imports have risen dramatically since 1999 - they dropped back slightly after the financial crash in 2008 though are likely to increase further through to 2015 as indigenous gas production declines.
Note: Libyan gas production is likely to fall short of this forecast after security issues starting mid 2013.
UK gas imports have risen dramatically since 1999 - they dropped back slightly after the financial crash in 2008 only because consumption crashed - though the deficit is set to increase from 2013 onwards as the economy appears to be making a recovery - as indigenous gas production declines further through to 2015 and onwards.
China's gas deficit mushrooms dramatically from 2010 onwards as gas imports increase to fuel growth - and a switch to cleaner fuel was pollution increases.
The UK consumption crashed in 2008 after the financial crisis as industrial, public sector and private individuals are cut back on natural gas uses - also as gas prices rose (brown line). Meanwhile North Sea gas production crashes - also after successive tax increases that help cut investment in new drilling and developments. The net impact has been a significant increase in the amount of gas imports, despite the recession and weak industrial consumption.
Despite having large gas reserves and a weak economy, Argentina has dramatically increasing gas import from 2009 onwards as indigenous gas production has declined through low investment levels. Columbia is a big success story - the economy is expanding dramatically as is oil and gas production.
A massive turn-around in gas production has occurred in the USA after horizontal drilling and fracking of shale-gas deposits to lead to the US exporting gas in 2012. This has driven a recovery in the economy. It is our view that without the increase in oil and gas production, the USA would have had another recession and financial crisis by now. It now looks like the gas and oil boom has stimulated the economy so much that a recession has been averted. Technology saving the day.
Qatar has a gigantic gas surplus. It also has an indigenous population of only 250,000 people. It is therefore about the richest country per capita in the world - feeding off the 1000 TCF North Field offshore Qatar. A field so big no depletion has been detected and the gas reserves are set to last 100s of years. Saudi Arabia needs to import gas to fuel its expansion plans.
The Middle East surplus goes to the Far East consumers. North America is fast becoming a continent of large gas surpluses.
Russia has consistently been a giant gas producer with massive gas surplus - that is exported to Western Europe. This looks set ton continue at similar levels for the next ten years.
Japan continues to increase its gas consumption as nuclear power plants are closed. Despite a stagnating economy and declining population - the gas surplus increased. This does not help their balance of payments deficit since these imports are LNG - at about $12/mmbtu - four times the price the USA pays for its gas ($3/mmbtu). South Korea also increases its gas imports.