Countries are increasingly looking to natural gas to decrease their impact on the environment. East Asia trades in, imports and consumes the most natural gas in the world. Several countries in this region, specifically Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Thailand, import 61% of the world’s natural gas. However, natural gas imports to East Asia cost much more than in Europe and American countries.
Natural gas is freely traded in some areas of the world. The existence of multiple sources such as those from the North Sea, North Africa, Middle East, and Russia create competitive markets (in this example, Europe).
Countries have established virtual natural gas trading hubs to promote free market prices. Examples include: the National Balancing Point (NBP) (United Kingdom), Title Transfer Facility (TTF) (the Netherlands), Zeebrugge (Belgium), NetConnect Germany (NCG) and Gaspool (Germany). North America and Europe also intend to establish a futures market for natural gas.