Liquefied natural gas imports into five Asian countries, Japan, South Korea, China, India and Taiwan have risen only 1 percent in the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period the year before.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the five countries imported only 0.2 billion cubic feet of LNG per day more compared to the January-June period.
Declining imports in Japan and South Korea, the world’s two largest LNG importers have been largely offset by the rise in imports by China and India. The two countries that accounted for 14 percent of LNG trade in 2015, upped their respective LNG imports by 20 and 41 percent during the first six months of 2016.
The rise in China has been driven by ramping-up of a number of LNG supply deals and low spot LNG prices while in India, government’s subsidies to natural gas-fired power plants boosted LNG imports.
Average imports into Japan during the first six months declined 6 percent compared to the same period in 2015 due to lower LNG consumtpion in the power sector due to a loss in market share to lower-priced coal generation and the return of nuclear reactors, which is also applicable to the reasons for decline in South Korea.
Return of coal-fired power plants to service in Taiwan curbed LNG imports during the first six months in 2016.