A new International Energy Agency (IEA) report asks if we are entering a golden age of gas. The report predicts that global gas demand will rise by more than 50% over the next 25 years (from 2010 to 2035), accounting for more than 25% of world energy production by 2035. Natural gas will outstrip coal and come a close second to equaling oil's position in the overall energy mix.
Currently it is estimated that there is an equivalent to 120 years of conventional gas resources recoverable, with total recoverable resources (including unconventional supplies) equal to 250 years of today's production. However, the environmental concerns associated with unconventional natural resources make the extraction of these doubtful in some regions, as well as the consideration that it has a higher ‘well-to-burner' emission than conventional gas. Nevertheless, the report predicts that unconventional gas will become increasingly important and meet more than 40% of the increase in demand.
China is expected to become one of the world's largest gas producers, however will still need to import more than half of its demand by 2035, and will become one of the largest global importers of natural gas.
The 12th five year plan targets an 8.3% share in the primary energy mix by 2015. This is a steep climb from the 3.8% in 2008.
The nation will become one of the world's largest gas producers in 2035 but will still import half of its gas needs, which will equal the needs of all of EU at that time.
Trade of 620 bcm will be split evenly between pipeline gas and LNG.
Where gas replaces coal, carbon emissions come down, where it replaces nuclear, emissions go up. At current rates carbon dioxide levels will stabilize at around 650 ppm leading to a 3.5 degree increase in temperature. Limiting the raise to 2 degrees would require stronger measures than a fuel switch.