Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture that mainly consists of methane. Found in deep underground rock formations, natural gas is often discovered near petroleum reserves.
More than two-thirds of the world’s total proven natural gas reserves are located in ten countries. Russia, Iran, Qatar, the US and Saudi Arabia are the major natural gas reserves holding countries.
The fossil fuel is formed as a result of exposure of layers of decomposing plant and animal matter to intense heat and pressure under the surface of the Earth over millions of years. Major types of natural gas include shale gas, deep natural gas, tight gas, methane hydrates, and coalbed methane.
Here is the list of top natural gas producing countries in the world:
With a production of 734.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2017, the US is the top natural gas producing country in the world, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018. At the end of 2017, the country’s natural gas reserves stood at 8.7 trillion cubic meters (tcm). Over the past two decades, the country has significantly expanded its gas reserves as a result of increased exploration and development activities in its shale formations. Its major shale formations include The Barnett play located in Texas and Montana, Haynesville play in the Texas-Louisiana Salt Basin, Marcellus Shale play in the Appalachian Basin, Fayetteville play, Woodford play in Oklahoma and Texas and the Eagle Ford play.
As home to some of the world’s biggest natural gas fields, Russia stands at second spot in the list of top natural gas producing countries. The country produced 635.6bcm of gas in 2017, according to the BP report. Some of the major natural gas fields in the country include Urengoy gas field, Yamburg gas field, Shtokman gas field and Zapolyarnoye gas field. Urengoy gas field is one of three main natural gas fields in Siberia, which contribute to nearly 45% of Russia’s natural gas reserves. Operated by Gazprom dobycha Yamburg, a subsidiary of Gazprom, Yamburg gas field is the third largest natural gas field in the world.
Producing 223.9bcm of natural gas in 2017, Iran occupies the third spot in the list. The country’s shares South Pars/North Field, the world’s biggest natural gas field, with Qatar. While Iran calls the field as South Pars, Qatar calls it as North Field. The natural-gas condensate field is located in the Persian Gulf. South Pars consists of more than a quarter of Iran’s total proved natural gas reserves and accounts for 35% of the country’s natural gas production. Other major gas fields of the country include North Pars, Kish and Kangan. The development and production of natural gas resources is managed by National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
The North American nation produced 176.3bcm of natural gas in 2017. Canada meets a third of its energy needs with natural gas, according to Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Natural gas was first discovered in New Brunswick in 1859. The country produces a significant part of its natural gas from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Offshore natural gas is produced from Atlantic Canada region. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Yukon are the other major areas where natural gas resources are located in the country.
With a production of 175.7bcm of natural gas in 2017, Qatar finds place among the top natural gas producing countries. A significant part of the country’s gas reserves are located in the giant offshore North Field. Apart from being a major source of Qatar’s natural gas production, North Field is the world’s largest non-associated gas field.