The global natural gas market driven by demand in liquefied natural gas continues to change buyer-seller relationships and raises new challenges for the global security of energy supplies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday. The gas markets are being reshaped by the emerging major natural gas buyers led by China, and the rising production and exports from the US. The third annual edition of the IEA's Global Gas Security Review provides an in-depth analysis of its security-related issues and lessons learned. China's supply shortfall last winter that triggered ripple effects highlighted the pivotal role of liquefied natural gas in enhancing global gas security and flexibility of supply. In Europe, the response to a string of cold spell episodes and unplanned gas supply outages also showed the success of integration and emergency policy measures. The analysis finds while there has been real improvements in liquefied natural gas flexibility contributing to easing supply shortages, uncertainties remain for the future evolution of the market. It includes risks like insufficient investment in production and infrastructure capacity, or questions surrounding future shipping capacity growth, a pre-condition for liquefied natural gas market flexibility. These could lead to price volatility and hurt consumers, especially the most price-sensitive emerging buyers, and cause additional security concerns. The report also said risk of a lack of timely investment in the gas carrier fleet could pose a threat to market development and security of supply, which could materialise really fast. Hence supply flexibility remains a key prerequisite to ensure further global gas trade development and security. Yet flexibility priorities differ for long-term traditional buyers, who seek the removal of destination clauses; and new emerging buyers, who are more focused on procuring short-term supply, usually for prompt execution. "Our report contributes to a better understanding of gas security of supply by providing more transparency on liquefied natural gas markets and their role in global gas system balancing," IEA's Executive Director said Fatih Birol said.