BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb.26
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Global natural gas demand is expected to grow by 50 percent from 3,950 bcm in 2019 to 5,920 bcm in 2050, corresponding to an annual rate of 1.3 percent, Trend reports citing the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).
This abundant, flexible and clean source of energy will expand specifically across the Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East markets, which will be responsible for more than 75 percent of total gas demand growth by 2050.
Lockdown measures in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 have led to a slump in natural gas demand, particularly in the power generation and industrial sectors. In addition to the impact of the coronavirus, the northern hemisphere experienced a milder-than-normal winter season, which reduced gas usage due to lower heating requirements at the beginning of the year. The recovery path and anticipated rebound of the economy in 2021 are unlikely to compensate for this lost increase.
Thus, gas demand is not expected to reach 2019 levels until early 2022 due to the ongoing pandemic and the continuation of quarantine restrictions in key markets. Some evidence of a slowdown in gas demand was visible even before the pandemic. After an exceptional rise of 4.9 percent in 2018, the consumption of gas in 2019 increased by 1.9 percent as global economic growth weakened, while a mild winter in many consuming markets also had an effect. It marked a return to the average growth rates observed between 2010 and 2017.
Nevertheless, despite a slower increase in gas demand in 2019, its share in the energy mix rose to a historical maximum of 23 percent. It is important to mention that even in 2020, natural gas, compared to other fossil fuels, has been more resilient to the impact of COVID-19. The steep drop in gas spot prices, spurred by oversupplied markets, has increased the competitiveness of this fuel against coal and favoured switching, while lower gas usage in the commercial sector has been partially offset by rising residential demand due to lockdowns.
“Over the long-term through to 2050 we adhere to our pre-COVID-19 estimates with some adjustments related to gas demand collapse of 2020, an overall moderate rise in global primary energy consumption over the outlook period as well as progress in renewables and the development of alternative decarbonisation options,” said GECF.
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