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Editorial comment

According to GIIGNL’s 2018 Annual Report, global LNG trade expanded by 3.5 Bft3d in 2018, to 38.2 Bft3d—a record 10% increase. Among the 19 exporters, the US and Australia contributed more than 75% (2.7 Bft3d) of the increase volume.

Asia led the growth in LNG imports among the world’s 40 importers, accounting for 74% (2.6 Bft3d) of the increase volume. China measured the largest expansion in imports, prompted by coal-to-gas switching.

The increasing prominence of Asian importers in LNG trade was confirmed by speakers at the LNG Industry Breakfast at the Offshore Technology Conference in May. Takuma Iino, Deputy Director of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Division at Japan’s METI, said that gas demand in East Asia could expand by approximately 2.5 times between 2018 and 2030.

Reinforcing this idea, Robert Fee, Chief of Staff at US LNG exporter Cheniere Energy, noted that of the more than 200 LNG cargoes exported from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in 2017, 46% were delivered to Asia.

Alex Munton, Principal Analyst, Americas LNG Research at Wood Mackenzie, confirmed that the gas balance is shifting in many Asian countries from pipeline gas imports to LNG. A combination of interrelated factors is driving this growth, including more competitive LNG pricing, insufficient supplies of pipeline gas, clean air policies and market liberalization. Asia’s less developed and less liquid market structure also provides significant opportunities for LNG to enter Asia, especially from the US. GP


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