Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are predicted to lead the way in terms of new natural gas processing plants constructed over the next few years, according to a new report by market research and analysis firm GlobalData.

The report says that the EMEA region will increase its overall capacity by 10.1 trillion cubic feet between 2013 and 2017. The region, combined with Iran and Saudi Arabia, will account for 43 percent of new capacity worldwide over the forecast period.

Gustavo Bianchotti, GlobalData's senior analyst for the EMEA region, commented that the Middle East is set to outpace Europe and Africa in adding new capacity provided that Iran's industry is not stifled by international sanctions. By contrast, European potential for new natural gas-processing capacity will remain rather low, except in Russia.

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Meanwhile, North and South America will add about 4.4 trillion cubic feet of new natural gas-processing capacity, with the United States accounting for up to 80 percent of this. Another key region, Asia Pacific, is expected to launch an extra 2.4 trillion cubic feet of capacity. The biggest player in Asia will be Turkmenistan, with 27 percent of the new capacity in the region, or about 635.4 billion cubic feet, between 2013 and 2017.

Currently, Iran's state-owned National Iranian Gas Company has the largest share of operating capacity, with 7.9 trillion cubic feet, followed by Russia's Gazprom and Saudi Aramco, at 7.7 trillion and 6 trillion cubic feet respectively.