China ushering in “Golden Age” of gas says IEA

China is about to usher in a “Golden Age” of gas, hot on the heels of the United States. So says a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) which […]

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By Vicky Ellis

China is about to usher in a “Golden Age” of gas, hot on the heels of the United States.

So says a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) which predicts the tiger economy’s demand for gas will nearly double by 2019.

Its Medium-Term Gas Market Report looks at five-year projections of gas demand, supply and trading.

It slightly downgrades its prediction for world gas demand, expecting it to rise 2.2 % per year by 2009, compared with the 2.4% rate it predicted last year.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) will meet much of this demand, said the IEA, with new pipelines also playing a role.

Australia is likely to be behind half of an expected growth in LNG exports but the IEA sounded a warning about high prices.

Executive Director Maria Van Der Hoeven said: “High LNG prices are threatening to crimp demand as many countries are increasingly unwilling, or unable, to afford these supplies – and that could open the door to coal.

“Looking ahead, unless we see timely investment in new production and LNG facilities and the reversal of the recent cost inflation of LNG, only a very strong climate policy commitment could redirect Asia’s coal investment wave to gas.”