(EnergyAsia, December 30 2011, Friday) — The chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has endorsed Singapore’s goal to become a trading hub and pricing centre for the rapidly growing global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.

Fatih Birol, who recently presented the findings of its “World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2011” report in Singapore, said the coming ‘Golden Age of Gas’ will be driven by rising supply and demand, particularly in Asia, with Singapore strategically positioned to help balance trade flows and set benchmark prices.

Large companies are making huge investments in large LNG projects with plans for exports to meet rising Asian demand for clean energy.

Dr Birol said: “With its strategic location and long history as a leading oil trading centre, Singapore is now well placed to serve as a key LNG hub. This would give a boost to market flexibility and transparency and help reduce Asia’s long-standing reliance on oil indexation for gas contracts.”

According to the IEA’s New Policies Scenario, global gas demand will grow by an average 1.7% a year to 4.75 trillion cubic metres (tcm) in 2035.

Non-OECD countries will account for 81% of the growth, with China expected to boost its domestic demand from 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2010 to over 500bcm by 2035.

This is the fourth year that Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA), a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the IEA are co-hosting the ‘World Energy Outlook’ lecture in Singapore.