The perception of natural gas today is radically different from what it was 10 years ago. Years ago, the natural gas was perceived as a noble fuel, reserved for premium uses. Today, it is used in a variety of sectors and applications and is experiencing significant growth as a fuel for electricity generation.
During the years 1990–1997, twenty six countries around the world introduced the participation of private capital in the natural gas transmission. The major participation of private capital has been located in Latin America and Caribbean countries. Argentina, Peru and Colombia have undertaken the most ambitious privatization efforts. Mexico expects its gas demand to more than double, with about half the gas used in power generation.
The expected expansion of the North American gas market will require considerable investment in new pipeline capacity from more distant resources. In North America, the gas demand growth is strong, in special in the power generation sector. Major pipeline expansions between Canada and the United States have been completed.
The gas transmission in Europe has been focused on the privatization of existing assets, which are property of the state. Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and United Kingdom have been working to transmit and sell gas to regional distributors receiving individual tariffs for it. It is known as vertical integration. Italy is one of the countries with greater profits received. Different kinds of alliances and joint ventures have been observed during the last years.
The gas transmission in Eat Asia countries such as the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Thailand is still a business reserved for the public sector. In Indonesia and Philippines, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, the private gas transmission has been limited to Greenfield projects.
During the next 20–40 years, the natural gas will play a substantial role in Russian exports. Statistical Review from World Energy 2012 reported that Russia has about 44.6 trillion cubic metres (TCM) of natural gas in proved reserves, which are the largest in the world. About a third of natural gas exports might be destined to Asia region from Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Australia.
The gas demand will develop differently from one world region to another in function of the size of gas reserves, their distance from the markets, the maturity of markets and of the competition from other energy sources.