Global Spotlight Report #51: Natural Gas


Post 51 focuses on the theme of natural gas usage and its implications for greenhouse gas emissions. We asked our Country Managers to answer the following related questions:

  • How much natural gas does my country use each year? Has this amount increased, decreased, stayed the same over the past decade? Is there any correlation between my country’s use of natural gas and its level of greenhouse gas emissions?
  • How much natural gas does my country produce? Is my country an importer or exporter of natural gas? Is natural gas being used to substitute for other fossil fuels such as coal and oil? If yes what has been the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of this substitution?
  • In what sectors of the economy is the use of natural gas most prevalent? What are your country’s policies that currently govern the use of natural gas? Assess the effectiveness of these policies in relation to your country’s overall climate policy.

Highlights of each country’s answers to these questions is provided in the Table below. Full Country Reports follow the Table.

Table 1: Natural Gas Trends By Country

Country Climate Impact
  • Government prioritize natural gas production while certain states de-emphasize its usage
  • Natural gas consumption grew by more that 28% over the past year
  • Natural gas-powered electricity consumption will double by 2040
  • Natural Gas use contributed to cleaner air and lower emissions but its role is slated to be scaled back in favor of renewables in coming years
European Union
  • The EU is in the process of phasing out natural gas usage
  • Natural  gas, much of it imported, accounts for 29% of France’s energy consumption
  • Germany is the largest importer of natural gas in Europe
  • Natural gas is emerging as a preferred fuel of the future
  • Japan is the 2nd largest importer of natural gas in the world
  • Is a major importer of natural gas
  • Ranked 2nd in the world in terms of natural gas production, and first in natural gas exports
Saudi Arabia
  • Plans to use capture, process and storage technologies to reduce methane flareups in natural gas production
South Africa
  • Has a small natural gas market; natural gas does not play a big role in energy production
  • Ranked as 7th largest natural gas consuming country in the world
  • Collecting evidence on crimes against the environment
United Kingdom
  • Natural gas is a major part of UK’s emissions reduction strategy
United States
  • World’s largest producer of natural gas and largest exporter of Liquified Natural Gas

Country Reports

Australian Government Prioritizes Natural Gas Production While Certain States and Territories Seek to Decrease Usage

Australia is party to the Paris Agreement, under which, it had pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. However, Australia’s economy is heavily reliant on the fossil fuel industry – the major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.In 2020, Australia was ranked as the world’s 7th highest natural gas producer, with an annual production…

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Natural Gas Consumption in Brazil Grew By 28.82% In 2021

According to the prediction of Hefner III (2002), the world energy matrix will leave behind its dependence on oil and will move towards natural gas in the near future. It is the cleanest of fossil fuels, with characteristics that favor greater durability for the equipment that uses it and reduce environmental impacts, in relation to…

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Canada’s Natural Gas-Powered Electricity Generation Will Double By 2040

Canada is one of the world’s largest natural gas producers (5th) and exporters (4th) with over 200 years of reserves at current production levels. The Canadian Gas Association states it consists primarily of methane, with lesser amounts of ethane, propane, butane, pentanes and heavier hydrocarbons. As a major producer, consumer and exporter, natural gas has…

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Natural Gas Use Contributed to Cleaner Air and Lower Emissions in China but is Slated to Take Second Seat to Renewables in Future Plans

China’s National Bureau of Statistics publishes an official Balance Sheet for natural gas both in English and Chinese. It illustrates that gas consumption has more than tripled over the past 10 years from 89.5 billion m3 to nearly 306 billion m3 in 2019. This reflects China’s strategy of the decade to introduce more natural gas…

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The EU is in the Process of Phasing Out Natural Gas Usage

Each year, the EU uses significantly more natural gas than it produces, which has become especially problematic given the current Russia-Ukraine crisis and the EU’s dependency on Russia for natural gas. In 2020, which is the most recent year with data on EU natural gas usage, according to Eurostat, the EU used 15,182 thousand terajoules…

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Natural Gas Consumption and Production in France

Natural gas is more positively perceived than other energy sources because the combustion of natural gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal and thirty percent less than oil. Still, in France, natural gas  constitutes around twenty percent of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, emissions from fuel types in France reveal that gas…

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Germany is the Largest Importer of Natural Gas in Europe

Germany’s natural gas consumption increased gradually since the 1980s from 58 billion m³ to 95 billion m³ in 2021. The continuing increase in consumption is related to the major substitution of natural oil with natural gas. It is functioning as a bridging vehicle in the government’s climate strategy to move away from coal and nuclear…

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India Imports 82% of Its Oil Needs and Aims to Reach 67% By 2022

The oil and gas industry in India dates back to 1889 when the first oil deposits in the country were discovered near the town of Digboi in the state of Assam. The natural gas industry in India began in the 1960s with the discovery of gas fields in Assam and Maharashtra (Bombay high). As of 31 March 2018, India had estimated crude oil reserves of 594.49 million tonnes (MT) and natural gas reserves of…

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Japan is the 2nd Largest Importer of Natural Gas

Japan has minimal natural gas production capabilities and imports approximately 95% of its natural gas. With the massive size of its economy and population of 125 million, Japan has been the largest importer of natural gas in the world until 2021 when China surpassed it after it increased its imports by 18% year on year….

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Natural Gas Use Continues to Rise in Mexico

According to data from the Mexican Ministry of Energy, the demand for natural gas in the Country has gradually increased over the last few years. In 2006, this demand was 5672.9 Mmscf/d (Million standard cubic feet/day), and in 2016 it was 7618.7 Mmscf/d. The latest data, from 2021, point to a demand of 8,265 Mscf/d,…

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Gas Production in Russia Increased by 10% in 2021

Although natural gas is a relatively clean burning fossil fuel, there is a correlation between natural gas consumption and greenhouse effect. In Russia, the domestic market is the main driver of the Russian gas industry. The domestic market accounts for about two thirds of natural gas consumption annually. From 2011 to 2016, there was a…

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Saudi Arabia Plans to Use Capture, Process, and Storage Technologies to Reduce Methane Flareups in Natural Gas Production

Saudi Arabia has large natural gas reserves, totaling over 333 trillion cubic feet (tcf), putting it in sixth place only behind Russia, Iran, Qatar, the United States, and Turkmenistan. Saudi Arabia does not import or export natural gas for its energy needs, and therefore consumes all of the natural gas it produces. Saudi Arabia’s production…

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Natural Gas Consumption in South Africa Has Been Declining since 2018

Natural gas currently accounts for approximately 2.6% of South Africa’s primary energy needs [1]. In 2020, South Africa used around 4.05 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Over the last decade, the consumption of natural gas in the country has fluctuated between a minimum of 3.65 billion cubic meters (in 2016) to a maximum of…

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Increasing Usage of Natural Gas in Turkey and Its Effect on Local Economy

Turkey ranked as the seventh biggest gas-consuming country in the world with 47.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of consumption in 2020 which was 6.5% more than 2019, according to data of the Natural Gas Distribution Companies Association of Turkey. 2021 natural gas consumption was around 2020 levels. However, Turkey’s gas consumption estimates for 2022 shows an 18.8% rise. Turkey is heavily…

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Renewable Energy Overtook Fossil Fuels As Biggest Source of Electricity in the UK in 2020

The consumption of natural gas in the UK has fluctuated from 2003-2020, with figures decreasing by 27 billion cubic meters. The UK consumes around 2,795,569 million cubic feet (mcf) of natural gas per year as of the year 2017, ranking 11th in the world for natural gas consumption and accounting for 2.1% of the world’s…

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The United States is the World’s Largest Producer of Natural Gas and Largest Exporter of Liquified Natural Gas

The United States is central to the natural gas industry worldwide. The country has been the world’s largest producer of natural gas since taking over the title from Russia about a decade ago. In 2020, the U.S. produced roughly 33.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, averaging out to 91.5 billion cub feet produced per…

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