Increase of 12% of world LNG trade in 2017
Now published on an annual basis, the 2018 IGU World LNG Report1 provides key insights into LNG industry developments through the end of calendar year 2017.
After a steady growth in recent years, global LNG trade in 2017 reached 293.1 million tonnes (MT) – an increase of 12% (35.2 MT) from 2016, the third consecutive record-breaking year for the industry and the highest annual growth since 2010. This impressive evolution can largely be attributed to increases in new LNG supply driven primarily by projects in Australia and the United States, producing 11.9 Mt and 10.2 MT respectively. Qatar remains the world’s leading exporter of LNG, with 2017 exports reaching 81 MT, followed by Australia (56.2 MT), Malaysia (26.4 MT), Nigeria (21.3 MT), Indonesia (16.2 MT), and the United States (13.1 MT).
Increasing demand in 2017 also contributed to strong growth in global LNG trade, as LNG establishes itself as the fuel of choice in markets across the globe. Over the past decade, many emerging markets have joined the liquefied natural gas (LNG) importers club. While there were only seven in 2010, there are now seventeen emerging LNG importing countries. The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the driver of global demand, with China growing by 12.7 MT – the largest annual growth by a single country ever. This was driven by the strong environmental policy designed to promote coal-to-gas switching. Intra-Pacific trade flows reach a record 125 MT, shaped by Australian production and Chinese demand. The other key countries driving global LNG growth include South Korea, Pakistan, Spain, and Turkey for a combined 11.9 MT.
Supply is set to continue its rapid expansion in 2018 as new plants and additional trains across the world come online. Although demand growth in China may not be as robust as in 2017, strong fundamentals will continue to support expansion in that market, as well as in many markets stretching from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Increased LNG supply may result in additional deliveries to European markets with ample natural gas infrastructure, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Spain. Developers will also continue to look outside established markets to develop new demand; although notionally small, these emerging demand outlets could amount to substantial volumes in aggregate.
The World LNG Report is published by the International Gas Union (IGU), one of the three organisers of the 19th International Conference and Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas – which will take place in Shangai, China, on April 1-5, 2019 – with the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI). More information: https://www.lng2019.com/