Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) led by Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco, are seeking to boost their liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity, taking advantage of low prices to meet rising energy demand. The region is forecast to become the world’s second-largest gas-importing area by 2040, with investments reaching $10.3b, The Peninsula reported.

According to Bloomberg, the region plans to add permanent terminals and temporary off-shore units that will increase annual capacity by 58.2 bcm in 2021, which was at the level of 39.1 bcm at the start of 2016. Annual capacity in the region is thus expected to increase to 97.3 bcm in five years.

The consumption of natural gas in the Middle East is estimated to rise from 480bcm in 2015 to 738bcm in 2040, according to a latest research report by Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) citing International Energy Agency data.

Growing demand of gas and a lack of cross-border pipelines in the conflict-prone region are making MENA a growth market for the fuel. The region will likely account for 6.5% of global LNG demand by the end of 2017, up from about 1% in 2013.