Global natural gas consumption rebounded by 4.6 per cent in 2021, more than double the decline seen in 2020, says the International Energy Agency (IEA). The strong demand growth in 2021 was driven by the economic recovery that followed the previous year’s lockdowns and by a succession of extreme weather events. Supply did not keep pace which, combined with unexpected outages, led to tight markets and steep price increases, putting the brakes on demand growth in the second half of 2021.
The year closed with record high spot prices in Europe and Asia, as natural gas supply remained very tight. The direction of short-term demand will depend on the weather during the rest of the northern hemisphere’s heating season. Assuming normal temperatures, the growth of the natural gas market is expected to be slowed by higher gas prices and softer economic expansion, while supply tensions may ease as offline capacity gradually returns. The exceptionally high gas (and by extension electricity) prices are likely to have an impact beyond just northern markets and the current season, with some ripple effects in both mature and emerging gas importing markets already visible.
This new issue of the quarterly Gas Market Report includes an overview of the main market highlights for 2021 and an analysis of recent gas market developments with a forecast for 2022.
Read the full report here.