Top 10 Countries By Proven Natural Gas Reserves

While I was waiting for a draft resolution from a natural gas distributing company listed on the stock market which shares I own, I decided to learn more about the topic - Natural gas, and one of the really interesting subjects to explore - Natural Gas Reserves by country.

But before getting straight to the numbers, let's find out more about Natural gas: Why it's important and what you need to know

As the world looks to diversify its energy mix one source, natural gas, is becoming increasingly important. 
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that natural gas is viewed "as a good source of electricity supply" for a range of reasons.

According to the IEA, natural gas is seen as "lower carbon" relative to other fossil fuels. In addition, it takes around two years to build gas plants, which is seen as being relatively quick, while its share of the global energy mix is increasing at two percent annually until 2020.

TOP 10 countries with the largest reserves of Natural Gas by OPEC

Country Rank Reserves Proven Reserves (Billion m³)
Russia 1 50,617
Iran 2 33,810
Qatar 3 23,861
Turkmenistan 4 9,838
United States 5 9,067
Saudi Arabia 6 8,715
United Arab Emirates 7 6,091
Venezuela 8 5,707
Nigeria 9 5,627
China 10 2,934

TOP 10 countries with the largest reserves of Natural Gas (Data source: List of countries by natural gas proven reserves)

I guess it won't be a surprise to learn that natural gas is a very effective economic weapon and one of the largest battlefields are now located in the European Union:

In a move that should not surprise energy pundits nor even those that follow geopolitical news in Europe, on Thursday Russian gas giant Gazprom said it’s looking to gain an even larger gas market share in Europe following record-high 2018 exports, as it expects a decline in Europe’s gas output combined with rising demand. Last year Gazprom sold more than 200 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas to Europe, including Turkey, while its gas market share in the region rose to more than a third, Reuters said in a report on the matter.

Russia has held a decades-old gas supply monopoly, dating back to the end of World War II, in Europe, putting it at a distinct geopolitical advantage over EU members, particularly Poland and the Baltic states. Moscow has also cut off gas supply during the middle of winter to make political statements in the past, upping the ante up for EU states dependent on Russian gas supply.

However, more EU member states are seeking to pivot away from Moscow’s gas supply grip by turning to more LNG, particularly U.S. sourced LNG. Other major EU players, particularly Germany, the EU’s largest economy, however, seems uncharacteristically naive about the dangers of over-reliance on Russian gas.

Berlin has approved and pushed ahead, amid heated backlash from Washington, the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Nord Stream 2 is a 759 mile (1,222 km) natural gas pipeline running on the bed of the Baltic Sea from Russian gas fields to Germany, bypassing existing land routes over Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. It would double the existing Nord Stream pipeline’s current annual capacity of 55 bcm. However, the U.S. has long maintained that it posed a threat to European security, while the U.S. is a large part of safeguarding that security.  On January 29, German news agency DW reported, citing one of the project’s engineers, that the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline should be operational by November (2019)

Source: This Is Just The Beginning Of Europe’s Gas War


TOP 10 countries with largest reserves of Natural Gas

Map with TOP 10 countries with the largest reserves of Natural Gas

Now, there is one interesting country that intrigues me lately - Turkmenistan. In the past I have covered brief stories, see:

Currently, ranked #4 largest proves natural gas reserves in the World, there have been plans (more talks) to build Trans-Caspian pipeline

The Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline is a proposed subsea pipeline between Türkmenbaşy in Turkmenistan, and Baku in Azerbaijan. According to some proposals it will also include a connection between the Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan, and Türkmenbaşy.The Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project is purposed to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstanto European Union member countries, circumventing both Russia and Iran. It is also considered as a natural eastward extension of Southern Gas Corridor. This project attracts significant interest since it will connect vast Turkmen gas resources to major consumer geographies as Turkey and Europe.

It's very interesting to note, that Brussels and Tbilisi will finance the engineering of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project

The Trans/Caspian gas pipeline

The Trans/Caspian gas pipeline (illustration: Thomas Blomberg

The Trans/Caspian gas pipeline would run under the Caspian Sea from Türkmenbaşy to the Sangachal Terminal, where it would connect with the existing pipeline to Erzurum in Turkey, which in turn would be connected to the Southern Gas Corridor, thus taking natural gas from Turkmenistan to Central Europe.

Georgia and the European Commission have reached an agreement on joint financing of commercial engineering of the gas pipeline project on the Caspian sea bottom, which will connect Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

... the adviser to the Prime Minister of Georgia spoke on the approximate cost of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. According to him, the project is estimated at $1.5 billion, which is much less than the amount that experts expected 8-10 years ago. The fact is that over the years Turkmenistan has built the East-West pipeline from the gas fields in the area of the city of Mary to the coast of the Caspian sea. The Turkmen leadership said that it had invested $3 billion in this construction, which reduced the cost of the Trans-Caspian project, which previously included a pipeline through Turkmenistan.

According to the Georgian expert, banks and European companies will soon begin direct negotiations with Turkmenistan on the purchase and sale of gas. After the preparation of the documents, practical issues related to the construction of the pipeline will be put on the agenda.

Last, but not least - Huge natural gas reserves discovered in eastern Georgia

As noted in the report, On October 8, 2015, Frontera Resources company has announced its discovery of massive resources of gas in eastern Georgia. The company estimates natural gas resources to be 3.8 trillion cubic meters. 

’Provided the size of this large-scale discovery is confirmed independently, and geopolitical challenges are handled successfully, this means that Georgia, a low-middle-income country, could become a net exporter of gas rather than a net importer. The south Kakheti find can supply Turkey, Romania, Ukraine and European markets farther west. As these gas resources are brought to market, Georgia could export gas via a small-scale LNG terminal located on the Georgian Black Sea coast, or via the Main Export Pipeline to Turkey and TANAP’

Now, little has been heard lately about natural gas developments in Georgia, but still interesting.