Last year was “another golden year for natural gas,” with demand surging by 4.6 percent, the fastest rate since 2010, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. Gas accounted for 45 percent of the increase in total primary energy demand last year. Unsurprisingly, China and the U.S. accounted for the lion’s share of the increase. Gas demand for power plants and for petrochemicals continues to surge in both countries. Also, unusual temperatures (excessively cold in winter and hot in summer) helped push up consumption. However, the blistering growth rate in gas consumption is expected to slow going forward, with annual increases decelerating to just 1.6 percent through 2024. “2018’s strong growth is unlikely to be the norm in the future because of slowing economic growth, declining potential for switching from coal to gas, and a return to average weather conditions after last year’s exceptionally hot summer […]