The global production of natural gas steadily increased from 2.27 trillion cubic meters in 1998 to nearly four trillion cubic meters in 2019. Global natural gas consumption closely mirrors production levels, and in 2019 amounted to 3.9 trillion cubic meters.
The United States is the world's largest natural gas producer, having extracted 863 billion cubic meters in 2018, and is also the world's largest natural gas consumer, with a consumption of 848.6 billion cubic meters in that year. However, despite being the greatest producer, it is interesting to note that the U.S. only ranks as the fifth-largest country by proved natural gas reserves, with Russia taking the lead.
Costs for purchasing this commodity tend to be lower in producer countries. This is particularly noticeable when comparing monthly natural gas prices in the U.S. and Europe. Europeans often pay twice as much for natural gas as U.S. residents, although the gap has shrunk in the last two years. A particularly noticeable increase in U.S. natural gas prices occurred in February 2021 due to winter storm Uri leaving millions of electricity customers in Texas, an important production and refinery hub, without power.