The International Energy Agency said it expected the share of natural gas in the global energy mix will increase 2.4 percent each year from now to 2018, what it called the "golden age." The agency, based in Paris, said the United States will continue to lead in terms of natural gas production because of rich deposits locked in underground shale formations.
Because of shale developments in the United States and tighter environmental policies in China, two of the world's leading economies, the IEA said oil demand growth should slow down as gas demand increases.
"Gas is already a major fuel in power generation, but the next five years will also see it emerging as a significant transportation fuel, driven by abundant supplies as well as concerns about oil dependency and air pollution," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said.
The IEA said in its medium-term natural gas report, published Thursday, the projected growth rate for natural gas use was lower than its 2012 forecast of 2.7 percent because of ongoing economic problems in the eurozone.
"Even though we have revised our growth estimates downwards, the 'golden age' of gas remains in full swing," van der Hoeven said.