Qatar now comes to second place as Australia overtakes it as the Largest LNG exporter in the world.
Australia passed Qatar as the biggest LNG exporter in the world, while the US and Russia continued as the 3rd- and 4th-largest exporters respectively.
Global LNG or the liquefied natural gas trade capacities rose to a record last year led by Asia, though growth was limited as demand was decreased due to COVID-19-induced restrictions, as per the report by International Gas Union (IGU).
Overall LNG trade grew to 356.1 million tons the previous year, up by 1.4 million tons or about 0.4 percent from 2019. It was mostly induced by rise in exports from the United States and Australia, the group said in its annual report.
This was less than the growth of 40.9 million tons, or 11.5 percent, in 2019, the IGU said. But, LNG was one of the few products that had gin in trade in 2020, it said.
“LNG trade in 2020 was heavily impacted by COVID-19, as markets, cities and producers across the globe wrestled with lockdowns and a multitude of other disruptions,” told the IGU, which consists of more than 160 members and advocates the use of gas.
In 2020, the US exported 11 million tons around 33%, more than in 2019 due to fresh produce from Freeport LNG, Cameron LNG, and Elba Island. Exports, however, decreased from Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, Egypt, Algeria and Norway, the IGU said.
For imports, Asia made up 70 % of overall volumes with growth mainly caused by China, India, Taiwan, and South Korea, with Myanmar being the fresh importer.
“While COVID-19 meant significant restrictions for some of these markets, they likely also benefited from the lower price period in 2020 and purchased additional short-term volumes, and expansion of regasification capacity in some cases,” IGU reported.
Extended lockdowns and the rise in the share of renewables in the energy mix lessened net imports into Europe by 4.3 million tons.
Coronavirus also critically influenced liquefaction development with companies lingering final investment decisions on projects up to 2021 and later due to the uncertain economic climate with developers prioritizing deferment of capital expenditure, IGU said.
For instance, a total of 87.3 million tons per annum (mtpa) of capacity were supposed to be endorsed in 2020, but only one project of 3.25 mtpa in Mexico was confirmed.
New regasification projects in China and India will continue to maintain gas demand. While projects are under construction in Ghana, El Salvador, Cyprus, and Nicaragua and expected online in the upcoming 2 years could see these countries make their debut LNG purchases, IGU said.