Natural Gas Market Research Reports, Analysis & Trends
Natural gas industry comprises companies that in the general sense, are businesses that transmit, distribute, and sell self-produced or purchased fuel gas. Mainly, firms in this industry consist primarily of gas mines and meters that transport gas to the end consumer. Then there are some firms that buy gas from the well or mine and sell it to a distribution system, and there is another category in which there are gas brokers or agents that arrange for gas to be sold via a distribution system that other firms or agencies operate. The production activities in this industry include coal gasification, petroleum cracking, gas extraction, and natural gas refinement. In today's scenario, the prices of natural gas are a function of market supply and demand. As there are few and limited alternatives for natural gas consumption or production in the short run, there have been changes in supply or demand over a short period that usually results in large price movements to bring supply and demand back into balance. The other type of natural gas includes shale gas, and it is produced by extraction from shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that are a rich sources of petroleum fuel and natural gas and in the US, the production of natural gas from shale formations has rejuvenated the natural gas industry in an excellent way.
The growth rate in this industry has been uneven for the last five years, especially due to the global economic recession and crisis' after effects which are still affecting in revenue generation, as it reduced energy consumption majorly across almost all sectors of the economy and it resulted in lowering demand for natural gas eventually from consumers and industries. In addition, infrastructure shortages and excess production further resulted in glut of natural gas in the US that caused prices to decline rapidly. Since the natural gas is used as an intermediary material and as an energy source during manufacturing, the industrial needs for natural gas grew stronger than other market segments. But the industrial sector benefited most from falling prices as they had to access to wholesale gas markets where prices are low. In the market, the demand from most downstream customers declined during the recession but electricity generators and industrial production firms kept the natural gas distribution industry from experiencing more significant revenue drops. The industry believes that during the next five years the natural gas production is projected to grow slow and infrastructure investments are expected to boost export capacity, regulatory agencies are expected to set higher retail rates due to slow production and upstream gas extraction firms are expected to charge higher prices on exports. So, consumption is expected to gradually increase as the economy heat up and attract more consumers.
Current Trends in Natural Gas Market
The natural gas industry is slowly gaining strength and promotion from the consumers and industries alike that are more aware of the environmental concerns and issues as the campaigns to reduce the carbon emission and leaving carbon footprint have made almost all industries to rethink and reevaluate their production, budgets and spending. The pursuit of an environment-friendly society has been the top priority for most developing and developed countries, and some governments have taken a strong stand and measures to regulate the utilization and distribution for commercial purposes.
Chinese government has been promoting natural gas by constructing pipelines and introducing new applications in the current scenario of China's air pollution. The Chinese government is taking measures and active participation along with natural gas industry to broadly penetrate the utilization of natural gas in their market. Other demand drivers for the natural gas production and distribution industry have increased in real estate development, particularly in which case it caused the number of household gas users to rise and migrate to this energy source, and power factories increasing their consumption of natural gas. The consecutive days of severe air pollution in 2013 has stimulated the governments to promote gas consumption as a replacement to other more polluting energies on a larger scale in the future, and in 2013, the revenue for global natural gas production and distribution industry is estimated to increase more than 12% to the value of $65.1 billion. The US' total natural gas consumption grows from 24.4 trillion cubic feet in 2011 and is expected to reach over 29.5 trillion cubic feet by the end of 2040.
Major Natural Gas Industry Players
Major players in the natural gas industry include Alagasco, EQT Corp, Avista Utilities, Atmos Energy, Xcel Energy and Questar.