The natural gas industry is one of the world's largest global industries. Until the 1950's the U.S. dominated the industry producing and consuming about 80% of the world total. Thereafter, gas production, associated with rapid growing oil production in countries like Venezuela, the Former Soviet Union, Iran and Saudi Arabia, grew strongly but, lacking markets and transportation networks, it was mostly flared or sometimes re-injected. It was only with the advent of long distance pipelines and LNG technology that natural gas became an important primary source of energy competing with liquid fuels.
In 2012 the global NG market of 3.4 TCM had a notional market value of $840 billion (at an assumed gas price of $7 per MMBTU). Approximately 900 BCM of this gas was internationally traded: 70% by pipeline and 30% as liquefied natural gas (LNG). A strong and continued growth in market demand makes NG the fastest growing primary energy source, with its share in world energy predicted to reach 28% by 2030.