The Golden Age of Natural Gas in Europe?
In 2011, after the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the International Energy Agency (IEA), in its special edition World Energy Outlook, indicated the 'golden age' of natural gas during the period to 2035. It based this prediction on the following expectations:
1) Enormous economic growth in China coupled with significant natural gas consumption,
2) A low share of nuclear energy in electric power generation,
3) An increase in the use of natural gas in the transportation sector,
4) A boom unconventional gas and its low prices .
This forecast began to meet the expectations on a global scale as total natural gas consumption in 2011 increased by 2.2% over the previous year (consumption in China grew by 21.5%, with consumption also increasing in Japan by 11.6% and by 10.3% in Canada) . Nearly every continent, except for the Old continent, recorded increases in this indicator.
Therefore, what is the current situation of the European natural gas market, in particular in terms of the European Union? What do these conditions bring about (impacts on infrastructure investments, security of supply)? What kind of decade can we expect in the EU with regard to its natural gas consumption? Which factors have the highest potential to influence the use of this commodity in Europe?
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