World gas reserves increased 0.6% percent last year with Russia once again holding the biggest share of the world's total - 24% - Italian energy giant Eni said on Friday.
Seven OPEC countries are in the top ten with 47% of the world's total gas reserves, according to Eni' annual World Oil, Gas and Renewables Review.
Global gas production confirmed the growth trend that began in 2010 and accelerated by over 3% in 2017-2018, the report said.
US and Australian gas production grew more than 10%, thanks mainly to the start-up of new LNG plants, the report said. In 2018 the two countries became the fourth and fifth exporting country in the world respectively (the third and the second exporting country considering LNG alone).
Gas production in Russia, the world's second largest producer after the US, slowed (-0.6%), but exports reached record levels, according to the report.
In Europe, production recorded a drop of -5.3%, with all the major producing countries presenting a decrease (Netherlands -16% due to increasingly stringent production caps on Groningen, UK -3.2% and Norway -2.5%).
In Africa, Egypt's output continued to grow at high rates (+ 12%), thanks to the ramp-up of the vast Zohr field, which holds an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, more than offsetting the decrease in Algeria and Nigeria, according to the report.
Global gas demand increased significantly (+4.6%), recording the biggest rise since 2010 and growing in all areas except in Europe, where it fell by 1.7%. Asia-Pacific area led demand growth again in 2018 (+6.3%), thanks to China (around +15%), the world's third largest consumer of gas and the first importer in 2018, said the report.
Gas demand also increased in Singapore (+22%), Pakistan (+20%), South Korea (+12%), Malaysia (+5%) and India (+5%), while it registered a decline in Japan (-3.8%) which dropped to third place among gas, importers and was overtaken by China and Germany. Due to the harsh climate, a significant increase in the demand has been registered also in the United States (+9.5%), which is confirmed as the top country for gas consumption in the world.
At the end of last year, solar and wind installed generation capacity (486 and 564 GW respectively) accounted for more than 40% of all renewables and about 15% of all power sources, the report noted.
Solar photovoltaic capacity additions grew by about 25% in 2018, reaching a record of 94 GW, driven by declining cost of technology.
Wind capacity increased by 49 GW, but additions fell by 3% from 2016.
China maintained its leadership in terms of solar and wind installed capacity (360 GW, 34% of the world total solar and wind capacity), although at a slower rate growth (+22% compared with 30% in 2016 and 2017), the report found.