Key Gas Trends 2018

24 April 2019

OECD natural gas production increased reached a record total production of over 130 bcm in December 2018 (Photograph: Shutterstock)

Natural gas production

In 2018, the OECD natural gas production increased by 7.4% compared to 2017 and reached a record total production of over 130 bcm in December 2018.

	OECD Americas	OECD Asia Oceania	OECD Europe	USA	Canada	Other Americas	Australia	Other Asia Oceania	Netherlands	Other Europe
Production growth				89.198	6.757	-2.913	17.936	-0.906	-4.21	-4.494
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Most of the growth was observed in the OECD Americas (+9.3%) and originated from the USA (+11.5%) where the shale revolution broke through.

OECD Asia Oceania supplemented the natural gas production increase (+12.9%) as Australia (+15.9%) is still in the process of ramping up the output of the Itchys gas-condensate field in the Browse basin, and should meet full production over the next two years.

OECD Europe, however, experienced a 3.6% fall in its natural gas production, following the committment to reduce the exploitation of the Groningen field in the Netherlands ( -9.6%). This is the largest gas field in Europe, but drilling operations and works performed on site led to frequent earthquakes in the region over the past years.

	OECD Americas	OECD Asia Oceania	OECD Europe	USA	Canada	Other Americas	Australia	Other Asia Oceania	Norway	Other Europe
Share of production				58.61556323	12.95515104	2.342633072	8.856136884	1.270144778	8.577667192	7.382703802
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The USA, Australia and Canada represent most of the yearly production increase in 2018, with +89 bcm, +18 bcm and +7 bcm of natural gas produced respectively, out of the 101 bcm increase observed at the OECD level.

These three countries account for 80.4% of the natural gas production of the OECD area in 2018, from 78.1% in 2017.

Natural gas gross deliveries

Total OECD natural gas gross deliveries increased by 3.5% in 2018 compared to 2017.  Both the OECD Americas and OECD Asia Oceania contributed with growth of 7.5% and 2.9% respectively, while natural gas gross deliveries to OECD Europe shrunk by 3.6%.

Most of the growth in the OECD Americas was led by the USA (+10.5%) where 14.5 GW of net natural gas power generation capacity were added in 2018.

Additionally, weather conditions in 2018 pushed the natural gas consumption for the power sector with several periods of extreme cold or warm weather, while power generation acounts for one-third of natural gas consumption in the USA.

	Gross deliveries	of which deliveries for power generation
OECD Americas (+7.5%)	 71.39 	
United States (+10.5%)	 42.03 	 38.95 

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In OECD Asia Oceania, Korea drove the increase in deliveries of natural gas in 2018 with a 11.9% growth, reflecting the increased natural gas use for electricity and heat generation.

	Gross deliveries	of which deliveries for power generation
OECD Asia Oceania (+2.9%)	 6.65 	
Korea (+11.9%)	 2.07 	 3.32 
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The decrease observed in natural gas deliveries in OECD Europe took place after three years of consecutive growth and was due to the combination of mild weather with above-average temperatures and lower demand in both gas-fueled power generation and energy intensive industries.

	Gross deliveries	of which deliveries for power generation
OECD Europe (-3.6%)	-19.00 	
United Kingdom (+1.6%)	 3.724 	-2.416 
Italy (-3.3%)	-0.487 	-1.996 
France (-4.7%)	-0.361 	-1.652 
Spain (-0.3%)	 1.190 	-1.272 
Turkey (-7.4%)	-1.746 	-2.209 

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Natural gas trade

Total OECD imports (entries) of natural gas increased by 0.6% in 2018 compared to 2017, which represents about 6.3 bcm.

While both OECD Asia Oceania and OECD Europe increased their imports, by 3.4% and 1.5% respectively, the OECD Americas experienced a contraction of its natural gas imports by 8.0%.

From a liquefied natural gas perspective, total OECD imports grew by 5.7%, mostly driven by the continued growth observed in the imports from the USA (+86.1%) and from Australia (+12.1%).

Otherwise, there were more moderate increases in imports reported as originating from non-OECD natural gas exporting countries, and for some of them even a fall.

This now places the USA - net exporter for the second consecutive year - among the largest LNG exporters, while Qatar remains the main supplier of the OECD overall.

Country	Qatar	Australia	Malaysia	Nigeria	Russia	Algeria	Indonesia	Oman	Trinidad and Tobago	United States
2017	 54 	 46 	 26 	 15 	 13 	 14 	 14 	 10 	 7 	 7 
2018	57	52	20	16	14	13	12	10	9	13
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Total OECD exports (exits) of natural gas went up by 4.4% in 2018 compared to 2017. This growth was supported by all OECD regions and represents about 31 bcm more than in 2017, of which 14 bcm were liquefied natural gas.

Overall, in 2018 the OECD area was again a net importer of natural gas, mostly due to the OECD Europe zone, while the OECD Americas is getting less and less dependent on natural gas imports.



  • All annual comparisons are based on monthly data in 2018 compared to monthly data in 2017.
  • Transit volumes are included in imports and exports. Trade amounts include intra-regional trade.