The OPEC countries possess an estimated one-third of total world natural gas reserves, but they produce relatively small volumes of this clean, convenient, and flexible fuel, and much of what is produced is flared and wasted for lack of demand. Historically, the major barrier to full utilization of OPEC's natural gas potential has been the high cost of gathering, processing, and transporting natural gas–relative to cheap and easily available crude oil. Now, higher prices make a stepped-up international gas trade economically viable for the first time, but a host of formidable geopolitical, financial, risk-sharing, environmental, and other barriers remain to be resolved. This volume, a primer on natural gas and international natural gas trade, also provides an inside view of how the OPEC countries view their options with respect to the medium- and long-term development of this important source of domestic energy and export earnings. The authors discuss the trade prospects and problems facing the OPEC nations, examine OPEC efforts to formulate a uniform price and export policy, and explore potential patterns of cooperation between exporters and importers. The authors also include current statistics on global natural gas supply and demand balances, as well as information on OPEC domestic natural gas projects and export contracts, both existing and planned.
Preface -- Introduction -- Natural Gas and Natural Gas Developments -- Outlook for Demand in the Key Importing Countries -- Natural Gas in the OPEC Countries -- Economics of OPEC Natural Gas Trade -- Expanding Domestic Markets -- OPEC Country Surveys -- Conclusion -- Appendix A -- Appendix B -- Appendix C