Global LNG imports increased year-on-year by 0.4% to 356.1 million tonnes in 2020, according to the latest report of the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL) on Wednesday.
According to the report's data, global LNG imports increased by 1.4 million tonnes in 2020.
The report said that LNG trade has proven resilient, increasingly diverse and global despite the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Trade continued to grow strongly in the first quarter of 2020 but as demand weakened in the second and third quarters, supply-side adjustments helped balance the market. In the fourth quarter a strengthening of demand resulted in a tightening of the market," the report read.
One new country - Myanmar - began LNG imports in 2020, raising the number of importing countries to 43 while the number of exporting countries reached 20.
The report said that 142.5 million tonnes of LNG were imported on the spot market or a short-term basis.
Out of global LNG demand, Asia continues to be the leading importing region, with a 71% share of global LNG imports, up from 69% in 2019, led by Japan, China and South Korea.
Japan imported 74.4 million tonnes, while China’s imports amounted to 69 million tonnes.
Australia was the main exporter of LNG in 2020 with 77.8 million tonnes, followed by sizable contributions from Qatar, the US and Malaysia.
The US accounted for most of the new supply volumes last year with 11 metric tonnes due to the ramp-up of projects commissioned in 2019, as well as commissioning of five large-scale liquefaction trains in 2020 - Cameron LNG trains 2 and 3, Corpus Christi LNG train 3, Freeport LNG trains 2 and 3.
New supply was also added by Australia with 2.4 metric tonnes and 0.3 metric tonnes from the Russian Federation.
According to the report, Europe recorded a decrease in LNG imports compared to the previous year. Lockdowns caused a drop in natural gas demand, resulting in storage filling up and the cancellation of US cargoes.
Net LNG imports decreased by 2.5 million tonnes in France and by 1.9 million tonnes in Belgium, whereas Turkey recorded the most increase by 14.4% to 1.35 million tonnes.
-Turkey ranks 4th in Europe
Europe's LNG imports in 2020 decreased 5% to 81.6 million tonnes.
Spain was ranked as the top LNG importer in Europe with 15.4 million tonnes last year followed by the UK with 13.4 million tonnes.
France, Turkey and Italy followed the UK in the list of large LNG importers.
Turkey imported 3.96 million tonnes of LNG from Algeria and 1.32 million tonnes from Nigeria. Angola, Norway, Egypt and the US also contributed to Turkey’s LNG imports.
Turkey imported 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in 2020, up from 45.28 bcm in 2019.
By Murat Temizer