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The Middle East will be one of the fastest growing regions globally for gas production over the five years to 2019, according to the IEA. But growth will struggle to keep pace with runaway regional demand.
The IEA’s 2014 Medium Term Gas Report, released this week, revises upwards its forecast issued last year for Middle East gas demand, apparently taking a less optimistic stance that subsidy reforms necessary to reign in over consumption will be enacted anytime soon. Rock-bottom gas and electricity prices have encouraged high demand growth rates and the development of petrochemicals industries dependent on cheap feedstock.
Saudi Arabia and Iran will make up the bulk of incremental supply growth in the region, according to the IEA. The extra 26 bcm of Saudi output the IEA expects to see online by 2019 will still leave the kingdom, at 126 bcm/year, well shy of its 150 bcm 2018 output target. Even the IEA’s figure may prove optimistic, as several major Saudi gas projects have not been realized in the anticipated timeframe. The 25.5 bcm (2.5bn cfd) Wasit gas processing plant may not come online until 2016, two years later than expected (MEES, 25 April). Additionally, the high cost of gas production in the Empty Quarter has seen Shell and Lukoil face long negotiations over price (MEES, 20 September 2013).
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