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As of January 1st, 2008 the proven natural gas reserves in the world amount to 6,138 trillion cubic meters (tcm). This quantity has hardly changed during the last couple of years despite of the steady increase in the demand for natural gas. This has been due to the fact that the exhausted quantities of natural gas have been replenished by new sources.
More than ¾ of the global natural gas reserves are located in Eurasia and the Middle East. At the same time, 57% of the world's natural gas stock can be found on the territories of the Russian Federation, Iran and Kuwait

The demand for natural gas has been rising steadily during the last couple of years and this trend is likely to continue. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2005 the total demand for natural gas was 31,7 tcm. According to the forecasts the demand will increase to 48,2 tcm by 2030. Such development is predicted in the light of the projected high costs of oil. At the same time, the natural gas as environment-friendly energy source is expected to play an ever increasing role in the national and international strategies for reduction of carbon emissions.
Globally, natural gas remains a key energy source for the industrial sector and for power generation. The projections of EIA point that by 2030 the industry will account for about 43% of the total natural gas consumption, while the production of electricity will make up 35% of the world natural gas demand.
Until recently the countries from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) accounted for the greater share of the global natural gas consumption. Nevertheless, as of 2006 the demand for natural gas in developing countries began to surpass that in OECD states. According to the data the gas demand in non-OECD states is rising on average with 2,3% per year, which is more than twice the percentage of the developed nations (about 1%). Worldwide, the greatest consumption of natural gas is registered in the United States (6,77 tcm for 2005), followed by Russia (4,94 tcm).

The greater share of natural gas is produced outside the OECD states. In 2005 the non-OECD countries have extracted about 19,2 tcm, equal to 62% of the global natural gas production. More than a third of this quantity has been extracted in Russia (6,89 tcm). The forecasts predict that by 2030 the production of natural gas in developing countries will reach 35,35 tcm or 73% of the extraction worldwide.
Since the indigenous production of natural gas in the OECD states is not sufficient to cover the energy necessities of the region, they are dependent on imports from third countries. More and more the OECD area will rely on LNG supplies from the Middle East and North Africa. By 2030 more than one third of the natural gas demand in the OECD region will be covered by imports.