Despite the energy demand destruction caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, LNG trading hit record levels for the seventh consecutive year, growing fractionally to reach 356.1M tonnes in 2020
The growth was a mere 1.4M tonnes more than the 354.7M tonnes registered in 2019. While LNG demand contracted in Mexico, France and Japan, the thirst for cryogenic cargoes was lapped up by Asia and China, in particular, according to the recently released 12th annual World LNG Report released by International Gas Union (IGU).
Imports of LNG to China grew 7.2M tonnes to 68.9M tonnes, second only to Japan’s 74.4M tonnes during the year. India’s imports of LNG jumped, climbing 2.7M tonnes to 26.6M tonnes during 2020. Imports to Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Brazil rose through the expansion of import capacity.
IGU reported global regasification capacity increased by 19 mta in 2020 to 850 mta. Two new markets – Myanmar and Croatia – joined the ranks of 39 LNG importers in 2020, and by year-end 2021, Ghana, El Salvador, Vietnam, and Nicaragua could gain access. “This demonstrates the central role that LNG plays in many countries’ economic growth and energy transition plans. With 137 mta of new liquefaction capacity under construction or sanctioned for development, and a further 892 mta of liquefaction capacity at the pre-FID stage, the supply is there to fulfil this role,” said IGU.
Australia largest LNG exporter
During the year, Australia emerged as the largest exporter of LNG with 77.8M tonnes, followed closely by Qatar at 77.1M, trailed by the US at 44.8M and Russia at 29.6M.
“The gas industry has held its own,” said IGU president Joseph Kang, reflecting on the year. “Despite having to overcome many challenges in supply chain management, maintenance and commercial matters, the secure and reliable supply of gas continued uninterrupted. This demonstrates the incredible resilience, flexibility and reliability of the gas sector in bringing secure, clean and modern energy whenever and wherever it is needed, even with significant parts of the world affected by lockdowns or restrictions,” he added.
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