Gulf Region Facing Gas Shortage
Relatively underdeveloped natural gas sector in the Gulf, amid growing energy demand in the region, is now posing a challenge.
Over the past decades, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have given priority to developing their oil sector at the expense of gas because of low prices and the need to boost crude exports for higher income, emirates247.com reported quoting from a National Commercial Bank (NCB) study.
Apart from the challenge of historic underinvestment, the regional gas endowments are highly uneven, the study said. Qatar is the only regional economy in a position to keep boosting exports even in the face of growing domestic demand, NCB said.
Its figures showed that Qatar and Iran account for 72 per cent of the total Middle Eastern gas reserves – 29.6trn and 25.3trn cu m, respectively. Saudi Arabia’s reserves, by contrast, are estimated at eight tn cu m and those of the UAE at six trn. As a result, one of the most gas-rich regions in the world is in fact faced with significant and growing gas shortages outside of Qatar.
“The challenge facing the GCC gas sector comes from the fact that both the global and the regional demand for gas has grown very rapidly in recent years and these trends are showing no sign of slowing down,” the report said.
It said the current 100bn cu m annual demand for gas is expected by the IEA to rise to more than 300bn cu m in 2020 and up to 600bn cu m by 2030. Citing IEA data, the report said gas will be used to meet 90 per cent of the incremental energy demand for power generation over the coming two decades.