World’s Largest Gas-Producing Nations: Natural Gas Will Keep the Lights on for the Next Generation

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) forecasts in its annual global gas outlook that natural gas will comprise nearly a third of the global energy mix by 2050 and fuel more than half of the world’s electricity production. So, when it comes to fixing climate change, natural gas is one fossil fuel that can’t be dismissed. The 11 countries comprising the GECF control 71% of the world’s gas reserves and are committed to making this happen.

LNG plant in Sakhalin Island, Russia.
Russian LNG loads at the southern tip of Sakhalin Island for export to the Asia-Pacific region, India, and North America. The facility shipped its first LNG in March 2009 to Japan, and is Russia’s first foray into LNG. Gazprom, Shell, Mitsui, and Mitsubishi are shareholders in the project’s operator, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd., which oversees, not only the LNG plant, but also an oil-export facility, three offshore platforms, and 2000 km of pipelines.
Sakhalin Energy Media Library.

Natural gas is almost certain to be the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the global energy mix for decades to come, comprising 28% of the global energy mix by 2050. Together with renewables, natural gas will likely fuel 60% of global electricity production, be it as pipeline gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), or blue hydrogen.

These are among the forecasts that appear in the 2020 edition of the GECF (Gas Exporting Countries Forum) Global Gas Outlook 2050 released in February 2021 and providing short-, medium-, and long-term energy projections based on assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, energy prices, and policies.

The report is updated yearly and is the flagship publication of the organization, which represents countries that control 71% of global gas reserves. It is unique in that it focuses exclusively on the global gas industry, which today is providing for 23% of global energy needs.

Headquartered in Doha, Qatar, the GECF is an intergovernmental organization comprising 11 member countries and nine observer states, established in 2001 by Russia and Iran. Moscow and Tehran had hoped that GECF would eventually morph into a “Gas OPEC” but that never happened. The organization’s analyses and forecasts do, however, present a worthwhile snapshot of how the world’s largest gas producers see the industry.

Member states in GECF include Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

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