Natural Gas Security Policy

This report is part of Energy Security

About this report

Natural gas markets are changing rapidly, shifting from regional trading with prices linked to oil to a globalised and interdependent market. This transformation is creating new security-related concerns, as natural gas assumes a growing share of countries’ energy balances. Unlike with oil, however, there is no framework for taking collective action in response to a supply disruption, and IEA countries do not have the equivalent treaty requirements to establish emergency response mechanisms for natural gas. Instead, each IEA country agrees to review its gas emergency response policy periodically, to share best practices and together to explore ways to reinforce gas security, individually or collectively.

While emergency response policies for oil can be a useful point of reference, appropriate emergency response measures can differ substantially due to the unique nature of gas. Natural gas is constrained by a highly capital-intensive transportation and distribution infrastructure, and some large consumer sectors have little demand-side elasticity. Natural gas is less fungible than oil, particularly with regard to transporting the fuel to end users, since it is more reliant on fixed infrastructure than oil, which can be transported by trucks for example. Gas transport is also more difficult to scale up than oil transport.