Amid the ongoing energy transition, natural gas and renewables are seen accounting for more than 90% of incremental energy demand globally through 2050, according to a new report from the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF)
The GECF on Wednesday released the latest edition of its Global Gas Outlook 2050 report, which outlined a future in which natural gas emerges as the world’s primary fossil fuel in the 21st century on a combination of affordability, abundance and lower carbon intensity.
Natural gas demand is set to grow 50% to reach 5,920 bcm in 2050, with consumption of the fuel expected to expand in particular in the Asia Pacific, North American and Middle Eastern markets. Asia Pacific will become the largest gas consumer by 2050, doubling its consumption to 1,660 bcm, the group said.
As an alternative to more carbon-intensive fuels and as a complement to intermittent renewable resources, natural gas is expected to receive “positive policy support in several countries” during the outlook period.
However, this support is not universal, with some governments setting more ambitious renewables targets and with lenders including the World Bank moving to stop financing for natural gas projects, according to the report.
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The GECF report expects global primary energy demand to grow by 24% during the outlook period, returning to 2019 levels by 2023. Natural gas and renewables are expected to make up 60% of global electricity supply by 2050.
Natural gas is expected to overtake coal in 2025 and eventually emerge as the primary energy source globally by 2047. Oil demand is expected to plateau around 2040 and then begin an “irreversible decline,” according to the GECF.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) will make up a larger share of the gas trade moving forward, accounting for 48% of all traded gas by 2030 and 56% by 2050, the report found. By 2050, the GECF expects 1,990 bcm of the 5,920 bcm of global gas demand to be imported.
Global natural gas production is projected to grow by about 1,900 bcm by 2050, reaching more than 5,900 bcm, according to the report. This includes 560 bcm of growth in North American production, with Middle East production forecast to rise 1,150 bcm during that time frame.
Investment in upstream and midstream natural gas development from 2020 to 2050 is expected to reach a cumulative total of $10 trillion.
The GECF, an international governmental organization headquartered in Doha, Qatar, is made up of 19 member countries — Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Angola, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Norway, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates.
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