Greater demand from industry – especially in China – is expected to lead to a 1.6% rise in gas consumption each year until 2023, according to a new report.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that rising supplies from the United States will also stoke demand.

Demand from China is expected to rise by 60% between 2017 and 2023, driven by the government-mandated switch from coal to gas in power generation in order to curb air poluution.

Asian consumption is also expected to rise as the chemicals and fertiliser industries – which both use natural gas as a “feedstock” or raw material – also expand.

Tough challenges ahead

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said: “China is set to become the world’s largest gas importer within two to three years, US production and exports will rise dramatically strongly and industry is replacing power generation as the leading growth sector.

“While gas has a bright future, the industry faces tough challenges.

“These include the need for gas prices to remain affordable relative to other fuels in emerging markets and for industry to curb methane leaks along the value chain.”

> Download the report