(EnergyAsia, May 9 2014, Friday) — Building on a decade of rapid growth, Asia’s annual natural gas consumption will rise to 790 billion cubic metres (bcm) next year, making it the world’s second largest after the US, an analyst from Germany’s Centre for European Security Strategies has predicted.

Asia’s surging appetite for natural gas has seen its share of the global market has rise from 13% to 19% over the past decade, said Frank Umbach.

“Regional gas consumption may even nearly double, widening the gap between regional demand and supply, and resulting in a continued rise of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and pipeline-gas imports,” he said.

The US will remain the world’s largest single gas market in 2035, its demand 50% higher than China’s.

China became a LNG importer in 2006, with Australia its largest supplier, at one point meeting more than 80% of its intake. In recent years, China has started up and expanded its pipeline gas imports from Turkmenistan and Myanmar.

Longer term, it is looking to Russia, which is hoping to reduce dependence on the European markets, and Canada, which wants an alternative outlet to the US.

According to the World Review website, Asian energy companies want to build a network of gas pipeline to connect the Russian Far East, China and Taiwan with the numerous LNG hubs in Singapore, China, South Korea and Japan.

“But a competitive natural gas market in Asia depends on a much more flexible LNG supply with further expansion in shipping, new pipeline networks, a granted third-party access to regasification terminals and effective independent regulatory authorities in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Dr Umbach, who heads the international energy security programme at the Centre for European Security Strategies (CESS). He is also the associate director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College, London.

World Review has been developed by the Liechtenstein-based Geopolitical Information Service AG founded by Prince Michael to provide analytical reports on geopolitics, economics, defence, security and energy.