Regasification capacity around the globe has increased by 46 million tonnes per annum last year, reaching 993 mtpa as four new large terminals were brought in operation in Brazil, Croatia, Indonesia and Kuwait while five expansion programmes were completed, four of which in China.
“At least six new markets have started or are scheduled to join the sector as importers in 2022, including Ghana, Hong Kong, El Salvador, the Philippines, Senegal and Vietnam,” France-based International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL) said in its annual report.
But LNG production has been struggling to keep pace with demand, which sent spot prices soaring.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, LNG imports in 2021 “returned to robust growth,” reaching 372.3 million tonnes, a 4.5 percent increase over 2020. “Asia remained the main demand centre for LNG, growing by 7.1 percent,” GIIGNL analysts commented.
New capacity comes onstream by 2025
Constraints in liquefaction and export capacity will keep prices on high levels over the next three years, as analysts do not expect substantial volumes of new capacity in the short run. But by 2025, more than 120 mtpa of new liquefaction capacity are planned to progressively come online, which should partly relieve tensions in the LNG market, GIIGNL analysts forecast.
With 68 new vessels delivered during 2021, the report confirmed the LNG shipping fleet reached 700 vessels, including 48 floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) and 31 LNG bunkering vessels, representing a 9 percent increase in cargo capacity.
“Freight rates remained very strong throughout the year and the orderbook at year-end was remarkably high,” analysts said, anticipating a further 196 new vessels to be delivered by 2025.