During a decade before 2005, natural gas production remained relatively flat in both US and European member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD Europe gas consumption rose steadily over the period, outpacing production growth by 2%/year, but it was flat in US. This situation has been changed after 2005, according to a recent analysis from the US Energy Information Administration.
Since 2005, gas production from shale plays has increased rapidly in US, twice as fast as gas consumption growth, reaching 24 tcf in 2012. Gas consumption, though not rising as fast as production, still grew by 16% over that same time period to 25.2 tcf in 2012. Use of gas from electric power generation accounted for most of the consumption gains. Net imports of gas have been reduced by 58% during those years.
However, total natural gas production in OECD Europe has decreased slightly since 2005, with the UK contributing to most of the decline. Production in UK dropped to 1.4 tcf in 2012, to less than half the level of production in 2005, offsetting gains of Norwegian production.
Between 2005 and 2012, OECD Europe consumption decreased 7% to 17.9 tcf. UK, Germany, and Italy accounted for two thirds of the total decline. “Industrial consumption has been steadily declining in Europe since 2000. Previously, strong growth in natural gas use for power generation had more than offset declining industrial consumption, but more recently natural gas use for power generation has been either unchanged or declining,” EIA said.
Net imports of gas in OECD Europe have declined by only 6% between 2005 and 2012.