Global natural gas consumption suffered a record decline but proved resilient in 2020, rebounding strongly in the second half of the year and outperforming other fuel sources, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its quarterly gas report.

The world’s annual consumption fell by about 100 Bcm in 2020, a 2.5% decline that roughly matches the annual consumption of Japan. What kept the market somewhat buoyant compared to oil (drop of 8% to 9%) and coal (drop of about 5%) was LNG’s growth of about 2%. LNG had risen 10% year-on-year on a regular basis but its diminished level of growth was still a positive in a very uncertain environment, Jean-Baptiste Dubreuil, senior natural gas analyst for the IEA, said during a recent webinar hosted by Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy.

“Gas benefited from the low-price environment that enabled further fuel switching in power generation,” Dubreuil said. The shift was most visible example in the U.S. where the abundance of cheap natural gas helped to depress coal generation in spite of an overall decline in electricity consumption.

Already have an account? Log In

Thanks for reading Hart Energy.

Subscribe now to get unmatched coverage of the oil and gas industry’s entire landscape.

Get Access