Nearly half of US LNG exports shipped to Asia, notably S’Korea and China

Monday, 06 June 2022
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US LNG is in high demand as economic activity gathers strength in most countries, while supply constraints push up price volatility. According to IGU’s latest Global Gas Report, about 48 percent of US export volumes were delivered to Asia, driven by increasing demand in South Korea and China, though the latter largely prefers pipeline gas to LNG on cost.

Volumes of shipped from US LNG export terminals saw rise in March and April 2021, but then fell again over the summer before rising sharply in in the fourth quarter and peaked in December 2021, as Europe’s natural gas inventories remained low.

“Overall, LNG exports grew in 2021, with the US leading the way through its year-on-year increase of 23 million tonnes,” said the IGU in a report covering the past two years. Exports from Australia, Qatar and Russia remained stable from 2020 to 2021, while there was a decrease in LNG supplies coming out of Nigeria and from Trinidad & Tobago over the same period.

In contrast to rising energy demand in Japan and South Korea in the first quarter, China – the world’s largest LNG buyer – saw demand nosedive as prolonged regional lockdowns stifled manufacturing and slowed economic growth. Large state-owned Chinese gas importers sought to step up import volumes of pipeline gas from Russia as well as from Kazakstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

“Russia’s pipeline export volumes increased by about 4 percent from 2020, with incremental volumes flowing to Germany, Italy, Turkey and especially China, IGU analysts explained. On the supply side, natural gas production in the Middle East also increased, with Iran’s pipeline exports to Turkey and Israel’s pipeline exports to Egypt growing significantly. 

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