Natural Gas

The Persian Gulf countries continue to expand their roles in the natural gas market. Natural gas is most commonly used for heating and electricity generation, but it is becoming increasingly popular as a transportation fuel. It is cleaner-burning, less expensive, and each tank contains more energy than a equal-sized tank of gasoline.[i] Natural gas is most easily shipped via pipeline, but most inter-continental transportation goes by ship, requiring conversion to liquefied natural gas (LNG) by cooling the gas to a temperature of -260 degrees Farenheit. Natural gas exports from the Persian Gulf travel through the Strait of Hormuz in LNG tankers.

The Persian Gulf has over 40 percent of the world's total natural gas reserves, and its global market share continues to grow.[iii] Qatar, with the third largest natural gas reserves in the world and several LNG export projects under construction, may soon replace Indonesia as the world's largest exporter of LNG.[ii] Iran holds the world's second largest reserves, although development of these reserves has been delayed due to technical, contractual, and political issues.

[i] The National Energy Education Development Project, Natural Gas (2007). Online. Available: http://www.need.org/needpdf/infobook_activities/SecInfo/NGasS.pdf. Accessed: February 10, 2008.

[ii] Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2007 (May 2007). Online. Available: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/pdf/0484(2007).pdf. Accessed: February 10, 2008.

[iii] Energy Information Administration, Country Analysis Briefs: Persian Gulf Region (June 2007). Online. Available: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Persian_Gulf/pdf.pdf. Accessed: February 10, 2008.

This page last modified in August 2008