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The article presents a methodology for developing long-term forecasts for global gas markets using optimization modeling. This approach can be effectively used for an integrated analysis of the global gas market conjuncture, and assessment of management decisions in the gas industry in both the short and long term. It allows to develop complex scenarios, where sensitivity analysis to different local and global factors can be estimated, including changes in production costs and volumes by country and type of gas, changes of demand and demand side responses, perspectives of development of infrastructure for gas transportation and transformation of gas pricing mechanisms. The research demonstrates that production of natural gas will grow in all regions, except for Europe, and of all types of gas, including shale gas, coalbed methane, coal gasification and biogas. The competition between world gas producers will be quite tough both at developed and developing markets. Up to 2040 the volumes and routes of world gas trade will be mostly determined by Asian natural gas markets development, which are highly influenced by their future economic growth and national energy policies. The role of LNG for the global gas market will grow in the coming decades, so that pipeline gas supplies would partly function as swing supplies.