Demand for natural gas in China will grow to 315 billion cubic meters by 2019, according to the 2014 Medium-Term Gas Market Report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). This estimate represents a surge of 90% compared to current levels.

The increase will be driven by the country's power, industrial and transport sectors, as well as by the government's growing concerns over air quality. Chinese authorities view gas as part of the solution to reducing pollution, the report says.

To meet the rising demand for natural gas, China will continue to import substantial amounts of the commodity. Still, forecasts say that half of the country's gas demand will be met by domestic resources as China's gas production is expected to go up from 117 billion cubic meters in 2013 to 193 billion cubic meters in 2019. This growth of 65% will be delivered mostly through unconventional resources.

On a global level, the report's analysis and five-year outlook of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments suggest that global demand will rise by 2.2% in annual terms through 2019. The prediction represents a slight decrease from the IEA's projection made last year, when the growth rate was pegged at 2.4%. The demand will be met by new pipelines transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG), with private-sector operators from the United States, Canada and Australia taking the lead in the anticipated 40% expansion of the LNG market by 2019.