Key natural gas trends 2019

Annual trends from OECD countries

Natural gas production

Total OECD natural gas production continued its upward trend in 20191 and increased by 6.1% when compared to 2018, reaching 1,567 bcm.

Natural gas production growth by OECD region and by country, 2018-2019


Production of natural gas continued to grow in the OECD Americas (+7.7%), with steady growth coming from the United States (+10.0%) after the breakout of shale gas.

Production of natural gas in OECD Asia Oceania also increased (+14.1%), due to sustained growth in Australia (+16.4%) where new offshore projects came online to support LNG exports.

On the contrary, production in OECD Europe experienced a decline of 6.7%. Production in Norway was lower (-5.8%), with companies holding back production as a result of market conditions. Production in the Netherlands also decreased (-13.5%) due to the continued phase-out of the Groningen field.

Contribution to total OECD natural gas production by country, 2019


Contribution to total OECD natural gas production by region, 2019


The United States and Australia represent most of the yearly production growth in the OECD in 2019, with increases of 87 bcm and 21 bcm (compared to 2018) of natural gas produced respectively. These two countries represent 70.6% of the total natural gas production in the OECD, increasing their combined share by 3.1% with respect to 2018.

Natural gas gross deliveries

Total OECD gross deliveries of natural gas continued to increase in 2019 and were 2.5% higher than in 2018, reaching 1,827 bcm.

Deliveries to power generation played a greater role, also increasing by 4.3% in 2019 compared to 2018. This growth was led by the OECD Americas (+10.4%) and followed by OECD Europe (+6.7%), whilst deliveries to power generation in OECD Asia Oceania declined (-9.6%).

Absolute and relative change in natural gas gross deliveries in selected OECD countries, 2018-2019


The principal contributor to the growth in the OECD Americas (+2.8%) was the United States (+3.1%), where deliveries to power generation increased by 6.8% due to new natural gas power plant capacity being added and low natural gas prices. Natural gas deliveries also increased in Canada (+6.2%) while they declined in Mexico (-12.6%).

Increases in gross deliveries were observed across most countries in OECD Europe (+2.2%), barring Turkey (-9.5%) and the United Kingdom (-1.9%). Most of the growth in deliveries was seen in Germany (+7.6%) and Spain (+14.5%), where deliveries to power generation increased significantly as a result of low gas prices, allowing natural gas to be more competitive than other fossil fuels.

In OECD Asia Oceania (+1.5%), decreases in deliveries were registered in both Japan (-6.2%) and Korea (-2.3%), with Japan also registering significant decreases in natural gas power generation (-11.8%), as five nuclear power plants restarted operations.

Natural gas trade

Total OECD imports (entries)2 of natural gas increased by 1.5% in 2019 compared to 2018, due to higher imports of liquefied natural gas (+16.6%).

This growth was driven by the OECD Europe, where gas imports grew by 3.9%, mainly driven by a large increase of LNG imports (+79.4%). Declines in imports were observed in both the OECD Americas (-3.0%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-6.6%), as a result of lower demand in certain countries, namely Korea, Japan and Mexico, and coupled with higher production from the United States and Australia.

LNG imports from major suppliers to total OECD, 2018-2019


Qatar remained the main supplier of natural gas to OECD countries in 2019, closely followed by Australia. 

Total OECD exports (exits)2 of natural gas increased by 3.0% in 2019 compared to 2018. The OECD Americas (+14.1%) led this trend, where exports from the United States continued to increase (+29.2 %). Exports from OECD Asia Oceania also increased by 9.5%, mainly due to the growth of Australian LNG export projects (+9.5%). Meanwhile, exports from OECD Europe decreased by 2.4%. 

Imports and exports of natural gas between OECD regions, 2019


Overall, in 2019 the OECD was again a net importer of natural gas, mostly driven by OECD Europe. Following past year’s trends, the dependency of the OECD Americas on natural gas imports continued to decline.

  1. All annual comparisons are based on monthly data in 2018 compared to monthly data in 2019

  2. Transit volumes are included. Trade amounts include intra-regional trade.