World natural gas consumption grew by 2.2 percent in 2012, below the historical average of 2.7 percent. Consumption growth was above average in South & Central America, Africa, and North America, where the US (+4.1%) recorded the largest increment in the world. In Asia, China (+9.9%) and Japan (+10.3%) were responsible for the next-largest growth increments. These increases were partly offset by declines in the E.U. (-2.3%) and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) (-2.6%). Globally, natural gas accounted for 23.9 percent of primary energy consumption. OECD consumption grew more rapidly than non-OECD consumption for the first time since 2000.
Global natural gas production grew by 1.9 percent. The U.S.(+4.7%) once again recorded the largest volumetric increase and remained the world’s largest producer. Norway (+12.6%), Qatar (+7.8%), and Saudi Arabia (+11.1%) also saw significant production increases, while Russia (-2.7%) had the world’s largest decline in volumetric terms.
Global natural gas trade was very weak, growing by just 0.1 percent in 2012. Pipeline shipments grew by 0.5 percent, with declines in net Russian exports (-12%) partly offset by growth in Norwegian exports (+12%). U.S. net pipeline imports dropped by 18.8 percent. Global LNG trade fell for the first time on record (-0.9%): a decline in net European LNG imports (-28.2%) was offset by net increases in Asia (+22.8%). Among exporters, an increase in Qatari (+4.7%) shipments was nearly offset by a decline in Indonesia (-14.7%). LNG’s share of global gas trade declined slightly to 31.7 percent.