The global gas market is in a transition phase after a long period of adjustment and a decade full of technological innovations that are conditioning the entire production chain, from extraction to transport to distribution. By analysing the consumption data in situ, the new dynamism of the market highlights, for example, that consumption went from 84% in the 1990s to 70% today, while the remaining 30% is commercialized thanks to the creation of new capacities, the development of the gas pipeline network and the substantial increase in the sale of LNG.
For decades, the chief players were the United States and Russia, but today the changes we mentioned have modified the role and introduced new key figures. While Russia has maintained its role as top exporter without rival (almost “double” the volumes of those ranking second, Qatar and Norway), the United States, with the expansion in domestic production thanks to the extraction of shale gas, has downsized its role as importer, stopping in 2016 at third place, after Japan and Germany, and is preparing to climb the ranks of exporters.
China and, to a lesser extent, India are instead expected to be the main protagonists in the future. The environmental problems tied to the high consumption of coal mean that a transition towards greater exploitation of natural gas is a possible solution for these countries, and this is currently taking place thanks to commercial deals with Russia and the development of plants and infrastructures tied to the sale of LNG.