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World Demand for Natural Gas: History and Prospects

This paper briefly surveys the history of natural gas use and describes the main features of current gas consumption. The share of gas in total energy consumption, and the sectoral distribution of its use in major consuming regions are discussed. The main changes in the pattern of gas consumption since 1980 are reviewed and explained. I analyze the likely implications of (a) the emergence of the combined cycle gas power generation; (b) the rising environmental premium of gas; and (c) the transformation of the West European gas market structure. The paper concludes that natural gas will substantially increase its share of global energy consumption in the next 15-20 years.

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Energy Specializations: Natural Gas – Exploration and Production; Natural Gas – Markets and Prices

JEL Codes:
D24 - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

Keywords: Natural gas, electricity generation, world gas demand, gas prices

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol15-NoSI-12

Published in Volume 15, Special Issue of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.