EghtesadOnline: Global natural gas demand will rise by almost 50% over the next 23 years and Iran will be among the major suppliers alongside Russia and the United States.
Mohammad Hossein Adeli, a former secretary general of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, made the statement on the sidelines of the 3rd Iran International Exploration & Production Congress and Exhibition that opened in Tehran on Sunday, ISNA reported.
Adeli said the present global population at 7.5 billion is forecast to soar by 1.7 billion over the period, of which 1.6 billion will settle in urban areas.
"With the rising population global energy demand will also intensify," he said, stating that most of the people will be living in countries with limited sources of energy, according to Financial Tribune.
Nations that follow the right path in boosting energy trade, he said, will be able to expand their footprint in international energy markets and increase profit margins.
He took stock of Iran’s huge natural gas reserves and stressed that this can and should help improve GDP and create wealth for the coming generations.
“Fossil fuels will account for at least 76% of the world's energy demand in the next two decades.”
Gas meets 22% of global energy needs and the figure will reach 26% in 2042. Nonetheless, world demand for crude oil is projected to decline from 32% to 29% in the period, he added.
"The world's annual natural gas consumption will jump by 50% in 20 years," he said, noting that as much as 2 billion cubic meters of gas per year is expected to be added to the current consumption that is 3.8 trillion cubic meters, most of which will be used in Asia and Europe.
Adeli said there is sufficient gas supply in the market, though demand is growing at a slower pace compared to the past, which is boosting competitiveness among exporters.
Regarding liquefied natural gas, Adeli said LNG accounts for 25% of the global energy basket and is forecast to reach 40% by 2042.
Energy experts say LNG can be a bargaining chip as it is able to help exporting countries circumvent political constraints.
According to Ali Amirani, head of the GECF office in Doha, Iran has managed to use its gas reserves to meet domestic energy needs in the past, although it has neglected efforts to boost export.
The National Iranian Gas Company sells 45 million cubic meters of gas to Turkey and Iraq per day.
Amirani says Iran needs to attract more investment in its gas sector to be able to expand its share in international gas trade.
"Countries need to make new investments to continue producing at current levels and increasing it. If they fail to do so the global gas industry will be hurt," he said, adding that Iran could face the same fate if it fails to draw adequate investment.
According to the official, while Iran's present share of crude oil export is 50% of its production, gas export still is a meager 5% of total output.
Iran produces 850 million cubic meters of gas per day, which is planned to reach 1.2 billion cm/d by 2022.
It owns about 18% of the world’s gas reserves and its production accounts for about 5% of the world’s total output.