Global natural gas industry - Statistics & Facts

Natural gas is a type of fossil fuel that mainly consists of methane gas and other flammable hydrocarbons. It is formed over the span of millions of years through the buildup of plant and animal remains, in addition to sand and silt that have built up under heat and pressure. This process forms the various types of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, in addition to natural gas. In the case of natural gas, the byproduct of this process has moved into large cracks and spaces within rock layers and can also be found in tiny pores within sedimentary rock formations (the latter of which is known as shale gas). Accordingly, this globally important source of energy comprised of hydrogen and carbon compounds is found in reservoirs underneath the Earth's surface.

The production of natural gas worldwide steadily increased from 2.27 trillion cubic meters in 1998 to 3.54 trillion cubic meters in 2015. Global natural gas consumption has risen in tandem with increases in production, and in 2015 consumption amounted to nearly 3.47 trillion cubic meters.

The United States is the world's largest producer of natural gas, having produced some 768 billion cubic meters in 2015, and is also the world's largest consumer of natural gas, with a consumption of nearly 778 billion cubic meters in that year. While the U.S. is the world's largest producer and consumer of natural gas, it is interesting to note that their proved reserves are only the fifth largest in the world, with Iran having the largest. However, North America has the world's largest volume of recoverable shale gas, which is becoming an increasingly important source of natural gas in selected regions.

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Global natural gas industry - Important statistics

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