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Top 5 world's biggest natural gas reserves

Nearly 80% of the world's total proven natural gas reserves are located in ten countries. Russia tops the list, holding about a quarter of world's total gas reserves, followed by Iran and Qatar in the Middle East. profiles the top 10 countries with the world's biggest proven gas reserves.

The world's biggest natural gas reserves


Russia holds the largest amount of natural gas reserves in the world. The country was estimated to possess about 1,688 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves as of January 2013, accounting for about one fourth of the world's total proven gas reserves.
More than half of Russia's gas reserves are located in Siberia. Three of the major Siberian fields, namely Yamburg, Urengoy and Medvezh'ye, account for approximately 45% of the country's gas reserves. The majority of the country's gas reserves under development and production are located in the Nadym-Pur-Taz (NPT) region of upper Western Siberia.
Russia produced 20.916Tcf of natural gas in 2012. The state-run oil and gas company Gazprom dominates upstream gas production in the country.
The company accounts for about 80% of Russia's total natural gas output and controls more than 65% of proven gas reserves in the country. Other companies involved in gas production in Russia include Novatek, PSA operators, Lukoil and Rosneft.


Iran holds the world's second biggest natural gas reserves. Its proved natural gas reserves as of December 2012 stood at 1,187Tcf. Most of these reserves remain undeveloped due to international sanctions and delays in field development.
More than 60% of Iran's natural gas reserves are located offshore. Non-associated fields account for around 80% of the country's proven gas reserves. South Pars is the largest gas field comprising 27% of Iran's total proved natural gas reserves and 35% of the country's natural gas output. North Pars, Kish and Kangan are the other major natural gas fields in Iran.
Gross natural gas production of the country in 2012 stood at 8.1Tcf. National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), through its subsidiaries including National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) and Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC), manages the development and production of natural gas resources in the country. The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), another subsidiary of NIOC, is responsible for natural gas infrastructure, transportation and distribution.


Qatar holds the third largest natural gas reserves in the world. Its proven natural gas reserves as of December 2012 were estimated at 885.3Tcf. It accounts for around 13% of the world's total natural gas reserves. Qatar is also the single largest LNG supplier in the world.
A vast majority of the country's natural gas reserves are located in the giant offshore North Field, which covers an area almost equivalent to Qatar itself. North Field is the world's largest non-associated gas field. It is the main source of Qatar's natural gas production. The Barzan gas project, the latest North Field project under construction, is expected to produce an additional 600 billion cubic feet of gas per year upon its completion in 2015.
The gross natural gas production of the country in 2012 stood at 5.7Tcf. The state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) is the dominant player in the country's natural gas sector.
The natural gas resources are developed by integrated mega projects in association with foreign players, including ExxonMobil, Shell and Total. QP holds major share in these projects. Qatargas and RasGas are the major LNG companies operating in Qatar.


The Central Asian country Turkmenistan holds the world's fourth largest natural gas reserves. The country's proven natural gas reserves as of December 2012 stood at 353.1Tcf. Turkmenistan, however, faces challenges in developing its gas reserves because of far-off end-use markets and a lack of sufficient pipeline infrastructure and foreign investment.
Most of Turkmenistan's proven gas reserves are located in the Amu Darya basin in the south-east and in the Murgab South Caspian basins in the western part of the country. The Dauletabad field in the Amu Darya basin, with estimated gas reserves of 60Tcf, is one of the largest and oldest gas fields in Turkmenistan. The South Yolotan area in the eastern region of Turkmenistan also contains significant gas reserves.
Turkmenistan produced 2.274Tcf of natural gas in 2012. Turkmengaz, one of the five state-run companies for exploration, development, production and distribution of hydrocarbon resources in the country, is responsible for gas production. Russia is the key export market for Turkmenistan natural gas. CNPC of China is the only foreign company directly operating in Turkmenistan with its involvement in Bagtyiarlyk project near the Amu Darya River.

United States of America

The United States ranks as the fifth largest, holding 334.07 Tcf of proven natural gas as of January 2013. The nation's proven gas reserves have steadily increased since 1999 with the expansion of exploration and development activities in its shale formations.
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, in the Western Gulf Basin of South Texas, are the major shale plays contributing to the country's natural gas expansions. Barnett is the largest shale gas reserve in the nation. Other natural gas reserves in the country include the Antrim Shale in Michigan, Caney Shale in Oklahoma, Conesauga Shale in Alabama, Granite Wash Play in Texas and Oklahoma and the onshore and offshore Gulf of Mexico basin.
The US is currently the world's largest producer and consumer of natural gas. It produced 24.06Tcf of natural gas and consumed 25.5Tcf of natural gas in 2012. The country had more than 210 natural gas pipeline systems as of 2012. The interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines exceed 305,000 miles (490,850km) in length.