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A Closer Look at the Largest Natural Gas Producers in the World

Largest Natural Gas Producers in the World
HelpSaveNature takes a look at the largest producers of natural gas, the second largest power source we are dependent on, right behind oil.
Neha Deshmukh
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Did you know...
... that according to the Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corporation when natural gas is delivered directly to the consumer, 90 percent of the original energy reaches the consumer.
Natural gas is found deep inside the surface of the Earth, and is composed mainly of methane and other hydrocarbons. It is primarily used for power generation, heating and as a cooking gas. It can also be utilized for air conditioning, lighting and as an alternative fuel for vehicles.
It is mostly used in its gaseous form, requiring a huge network of pipelines. As it is lighter than air, transporting it is a problem, especially under oceans. Hence, it is liquified and converted into LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) for ease of transfer, especially for export.
Natural gas is considered to be one the cleanest fossil fuels, as it emits less carbon (approximately 50% less than coal) and other pollutants such as sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.
According to the International Energy Agency 3,388 billion cubic meters of natural gas was produced in the world in 2011, and here are the World's top 10 natural gas producers as per the CIA World Fact Book -
Rank 1: Russia
Flag Of Russia
Production: 670 bcm
Export: 173 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 506 bcm

Russia accounts for 20% of world's natural gas production alone and is also the biggest exporter. More than 94% of natural gas production in Russia is controlled by Gazprom, a company owned by the Russian government. Gazprom also holds the record for being the biggest extractor of natural gas.
Rank 2: United States of America
Flag Of United States of America
Production: 651 bcm
Export: --
Consumption: 690 bcm

Even though America ranks second and produces a little less than 20% of the world's natural gas, it has to import over 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas every year due to very high consumption rate. It is also the 4th largest importer and the biggest consumer of natural gas in the world.
Rank 3: Canada
Flag Of Canada
Production: 160 bcm
Export: 107 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 103 bcm

Canada is the third largest producer and second largest exporter of natural gas. Needless to say, a major chunk (98%) of Canadian exports go to its insatiable neighbor to the south - the United States of America.
Rank 4: Qatar
Flag Of Qatar
Production: 151 bcm
Export: 39 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 20 bcm (2007)

Qatar relies heavily on natural gas, both economy-wise and for its domestic energy needs. Natural gas accounts for approximately 40% exports and about 79% of domestic energy consumption.
Rank 5: Iran
Flag Of Iran
Production: 149 bcm (2010)
Export: 6.2 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 144 bcm (2010)

Iran, one of the richest regions when it comes to fossil fuels, also has an unusually high consumption and exports very little natural gas. The exports are also expected to decrease even more as the region develops.
Rank 6: Norway
Flag Of Norway
Production: 103 bcm
Export: 85 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 6.5 bcm (2007)

The only European country on this list, Norway, derives most of its domestic energy from hydroelectricity, exporting a major chunk of natural gas. This makes it the third biggest exporter of natural gas in the world.
Rank 7: China
Flag Of China
Production: 102 bcm
Export: 5.3 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 130 bcm

Arguably, the fastest growing country in the world, China is a major producer as well as importer of natural gas. China also holds the record of producing the most energy from a renewable source.
Rank 8: Saudi Arabia
Flag Of Saudi Arabia
Production: 103 bcm
Export: --
Consumption: 99 bcm

Even though Saudi Arabia has the 4th largest natural gas reserves, the focus is on petroleum. Natural gas is viewed as a by-product of petroleum production and was burned off till recently.
Rank 9: Algeria
Production: 84 bcm (2010)
Export: 59 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 26 bcm

Algeria is the first country to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and ranks 4th in natural gas export. Its economy is entirely dependent on oil and gas exports, contributing to 30% of its GDP.
Rank 10: Indonesia
Flag Of Indonesia
Production: 83 bcm (2010)
Export: 32 bcm (2007)
Consumption: 23 bcm (2007)

Japan and Singapore are the major markets for Indonesian natural gas, but is largely dwarfed by the huge coal exports, Indonesia being the 2nd biggest exporter of coal in the world.
These ten countries alone contribute to more than 60% of natural gas in the world and many of them are also major oil producers. With the world running out of oil and the need to find cleaner source of energy, natural gas is gaining more and more significance. Even though it is not renewable and was estimated to last for only 60 more years in 2006, new technological advancements are making it possible for natural gas to be extracted from unconventional sources, like shale.