Natural gas is a mixture of several hydrocarbon gases, including methane (between 70% and 90%), ethane, propane, butane and pentane, as well as carbon dioxide, nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide. The composition of natural gas can vary widely, depending on the gas field. Natural gas is referred to as “wet” when hydrocarbons other than methane are present, “dry” when it is almost pure methane, and “sour” when it contains significant amounts of hydrogen sulphide.
Natural gas is seen as a good source of electricity supply for a number of economic, operational and environmental reasons:
Also, gas plants are flexible both in technical and economic terms, so they can react quickly to demand peaks, and are ideally twinned with intermittent renewable options such as wind power. Over the course of a month, various spikes in demand have a sizeable knock-on effect on the cost of delivering electricity, so having a source of energy – namely gas – which can cope with these spikes is a significant advantage. The IEA closely follows gas market developments and trends all over the world and provides advice to our member countries on the current situation and possible future scenarios.
The Medium-term Gas Market Report will be released on 5 June 2012. The Report can be purchased through the IEA’s Bookshop on that date.
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