Le gaz naturel et le gaz liquéfié dans le transport maritime

Le gaz naturel liquéfié (GNL) a vu sa part augmenter sur le marché mondial du gaz transporté par voie maritime en 2014. Les volumes ont progressé de 2,5 % pour atteindre 333,3 milliards de mètres cubes au total.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) increased its share of global gas trade carried by sea in 2014. Volumes increased by 2.5%, taking the total to 333.3 billion cubic meters.
Growth was driven by higher import demand in China, India, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Mexico. Japan, the largest world importer, increased imports by 1.4 per cent, while the Republic of Korea, the second largest importer, recorded a decline of 5.7 per cent as inventory restocking was completed. Rising import demand in developing Asia and America was supported by growing power generation, petrochemical and heating demand, as well as expanded regasification capacity in China and India.

Major exporters, including Qatar, reduced exports, while others such as Algeria, Australia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea recorded increases in export volumes. Meanwhile, LNG imports into the United States have been curtailed by the shale revolution.  However, the country has the potential to eventually emerge as an important gas exporter. Overall, firm global demand for LNG, led by the Asian economies, is expected to support growth in LNG carrier demand, while environmental regulations and air emission controls may lead to a growing role for gas.

Some observers predict that LNG volumes will double by 2020, with Australia emerging as a world leading exporter together with other producers such as the Russian Federation, the United States, Canada and East Africa. These developments will affect demand for gas carriers and further shape LNG trade flows and patterns. Global LPG trade is estimated to have increased by 12.7 per cent in 2014 to reach 71 million tons. Growth was largely supported by the expansion of shale production in the United States and LPG exports. Imports of LPG into China and India remained firm and contributed to raising long-haul trades and helping absorb more gas carrier capacity.

Emissions from maritime transport are of increasing concern.  Using LNG as fuel is an option to reduce emissions. In March 2015, only 178 ships were LNG fueled or capable of running on LNG, most of which were LNG carriers themselves. Nevertheless, the share of tonnage using LNG as fuel is increasing, and as regulations on emissions become more stringent, this growth can be expected to continue in the longer term. The use of LNG as fuel will also depend on the installation of the corresponding bunkering infrastructure. Currently, the infrastructure is lacking, with only sparse coverage of LNG fueling stations, mostly located in Northern Europe.

Source: unctad.org