The Asia Vision LNG carrier ship at the Cheniere Energy terminal in this aerial photograph taken over Sabine Pass, Texas, Feb. 24, 2016

Lindsey Janies | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Asia Vision LNG carrier ship at the Cheniere Energy terminal in this aerial photograph taken over Sabine Pass, Texas, Feb. 24, 2016

The United States is on course to challenge Australia and Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Global gas demand is expected to grow by 1.6 percent a year for the next 5 years, with consumption tipped to hit almost 4,000 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2022. China is tipped to account for almost 40 percent of growth.

“The U.S. shale revolution shows no sign of running out of steam and its effects are now amplified by a second revolution of rising LNG supplies,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, in a statement Thursday.

“Also, the rising number of LNG consuming countries, from 15 in 2005 to 39 this year, shows that LNG attracts many new customers, especially in the emerging world,” Birol added.

The U.S. is already the world’s largest producer of natural gas and the IEA estimated that by 2022 the country’s production will be 890 bcm, more than a fifth of global gas output.

The IEA said the United States will challenge both Qatar and Australia as the highest exporter by 2022 with more than half of the natural gas produced to be converted to liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export.

In a bid to increase export demand, three major LNG terminals are under construction on the Texan coast which will double the number of U.S. ports currently in use.

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