The international group of liquefied natural gas importers (GIIGNL), reported the highest rise in LNG supply since 2010.
Global imports of liquefied natural gas in 2017 reached 289.8 million tons, jumping 9.9 percent compared to the previous year.
The organization noted only one country, Malta, entered the importers’ circle in 2017 bringing the total number to 40, while the exporting countries number remained at 19.
The surge in LNG supply was driven by new production from Australia (+10.7 MT) and from the United States (+9.6 MT) as well as by the better performance of existing liquefaction plants in Algeria, Angola and Nigeria (+6.2 MT).
In opposite direction, supplies from the Middle East decreased by 2.3 MT as a result of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance in Qatar.
Out of the five new onshore liquefaction trains coming online in 2017, two were in Australia and the United States each with one starting up in Russia. Malaysia’s giant Petronas added the only floating liquefaction train of the year.
The Pacific Basin remains the largest source of LNG supplies with 131.4 MT or 45.3 percent of the global market, followed by the Middle East (31.5 percent) and the Atlantic Basin (23.2 percent). Due to the decline in production from Qatar, the gap between supplies from the Pacific Basin and the Middle East has widened, from 25 MT in 2016 to 40 MT in 2017, while the gap between the Atlantic Basin and the Middle East narrowed from 42.2 MTPA to 24.2 MT.
On the import side, Japan remained the top importer with 83.5 MT or a 28.8 percent market share, followed by China (39 MT) that saw its imports climb by 42.3 percent overtaking South Korea despite the latter showing an increase in imports underpinned by demand in the power sector.
Power generation sector pushed European net imports up 19.5 percent in 2017, the American region saw a 4.1 percent rise while the Middle East was the only region reporting imports decline by 9.1 percent.
Spot and short-term imports have also experienced a rise during the year under review reaching 77.5 MT in 2017 combined, up from 75.5 MT in 2016, although the share in total LNG imports remained flat at around 27 percent, GIINGL’s report reads.
In 2017 a total of 2.6 MT of LNG was re-exported from 12 countries to 20 destination countries, down from 4.5 MT in 2016 because of narrower price differentials between markets for much of the year and due to the increased availability of destination flexible LNG.