The share of natural gas in global energy consumption has been rising steadily during the past decades and still remains on growth track.

Of the world's two major natural gas provinces, the largest (Russia) is being exploited, while the other (The Middle East) is still rather untapped-hence its bearing on future gas supplies.

Initially in this paper, the present status of natural gas in Middle Eastern countries is reviewed and the imbalance between proved reserves (32.4% Worldwide) and actual 1995 production (6.6% of World) is underlined. Furthermore, the gas industries of its major countries are highlighted.

Turning to the future, the major options available to Middle East natural gas reserves holders are investigated. It is clear that from an economical point of view, domestic options look more attractive in the Middle East than export projects.

The question of the future gas prices is reviewed as this matter will influence the feasibility of major export schemes.

An attempt is made of outlining the future supply of natural gas from the Middle East, either in pipelines or LNG form (up to the year 2010). and it is concluded that the Middle East's present share in gas world trade is bound to grow considerably.


Natural gas began life as an unwanted by-product of crude petroleum production and as an unusable mineral resource. At the turn of the century, it eventually became a source of primary energy in the U.S.A. After the end of the second world war it gradually became a component of the global energy mix, with a noticeable growth in the West European market. Then, in the 1970s, Japan became a major user of natural gas too. Within a span of seven decades, natural gas's share of worldwide energy needs has steadily increased: from around 2% in 1920 to 23.3% in 1995l-as shown in Fig. 1.

Projections for the future uses of natural gas show that its share of the global energy mix could still increase in the early 21st century: assuming ‘business as usual’, its share could rise from the present 23.3% to around 25% of global primary energy requirements by the year 2010'. 2. PRESENT STATUS OF PROVED GAS RESERVES As far as natural gas reserves worldwide are considered, two major provinces dominate the scene: Russia and the Middle East. These two major provinces account for roughly two-thirds of proved world gas reserves: their respective shares amount to 34.4% and 32.4% of total reserves. A breakdown of these reserves by region is presented in Table I and a simple graphical view is shown in Fig. 2.

As can been seen from Table I, besides the two dominating provinces, the rest of world gas reserves seem to be evenly split amongst the six other regions. 3. TWO MAJOR PROVINCES If the proved reserves of

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.