Air quality concerns were pushing the Chinese government to reduce pollution, with gas emerging as a key part of the solution, said the independent energy organisation in its medium-term gas market report.
In contrast, weak growth in demand and strong political support for renewables mean European gas consumption will remain below its 2010 peak over the next five years.
Global demand was set to rise by 2.2 per cent per year until 2019, slightly missing the 2.4 per cent rate projected in last year’s outlook.
Liquified natural gas (LNG) is expected to meet much of this demand, which will increasingly come from private sector operators in Australia, Canada and the US, rather than state-owned suppliers.
“We are entering the age of much more efficient natural gas markets, with additional benefits for energy security,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven. “While demand growth is driven by the Asia-Pacific region – and especially China – supply growth for the international gas trade is dominated by private investments in LNG in Australia and North America.”