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Global natural gas consumption 1998-2019

Worldwide natural gas consumption has been rising over the past 20 years. In 2019, natural gas consumption worldwide amounted to nearly 3.9 trillion cubic meters.

What is natural gas?

Natural gas is a mixture of gases, primarily methane. Consisting mostly of hydrocarbons, it is found in deposits called reservoirs beneath the surface of the Earth. Natural gas is considered the Earth’s cleanest fossil fuel because it produces carbon dioxide, water vapor, and small amounts of nitrogen oxides when it is burned. In its natural state, natural gas is colorless and odorless. It is used commonly in residential, commercial, and industrial applications, such as heating and electricity generation. Although it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, natural gas development has resulted in the increase of hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), a controversial and environmentally damaging extraction method.

Natural gas consumption in the United States

In 2019, the United States was the leading consumer of natural gas worldwide. Their natural gas consumption has been increasing slightly since 1995, amounting to some 846.6 billion cubic meters in 2019. That same year, the industrial sector in the United States consumed the second largest proportion of natural gas of all sectors, second to electricity generation. In the U.S. industrial sector, natural gas is used as a fuel for process heating, heat and power systems, and as a raw material to produce chemicals and fertilizer.

Natural gas consumption worldwide from 1998 to 2019 (in billion cubic meters)*

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Sources

Release date

June 2020

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

1998 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Excludes natural gas converted to liquid fuels but includes derivatives of coal as well as natural gas consumed in Gas-to-Liquids transformation.
According to the source, these data represent standard cubic meters (measured at 15°C and 1,013 mbar) where possible. Since the figures were derived directly from tons of oil equivalent using an average conversion factor, it does not necessarily equate with gas volumes expressed in specific national terms.
This statistic was assembled using several editions of the annual report.

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