Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade reached an all-time high of 354.7 million tonnes in 2019, setting a new annual record, according to the International Gas Union's (IGU) annual LNG report for 2020 launched on Monday.
This constitutes an increase of approximately 13% or 40.9 million tonnes compared to 2018, and the sixth year of consecutive growth in global LNG trade, the report showed.
Qatar managed to maintain its position as the largest exporter in the world with 77.8 million tonnes, closely followed by Australia with its addition of 8.7 million tonnes to total 75.4 million tonnes.
Last year, the US added 13.1 million tonnes to total 33.8 million tonnes of exports and overtook Malaysia as the third largest exporter.
Russia is now the fourth largest LNG exporter with an addition of 11 million tonnes to total 29.3 million tonnes, followed by Malaysia which fell down in ranking to fifth place with 26.2 million tonnes.
- European imports almost doubled
No new consumers joined the established 37 global LNG markets in 2019.
The largest import increases were seen in Europe with the addition of 37 million tonnes in 2019.
According to the report, European imports surged on the back of low prices, almost doubling to 85.9 million tonnes from 48.9 million tonnes in 2018.
"This accounts for 90% of the global increase in LNG trade in 2019. Market share wise, this meant an increase from 16% to 24%. This was driven also by declines in domestic production, increased use of storage, additional gas-fired power generation and increases in LNG imports from for instance Algeria as LNG was competitive versus pipeline supplies," the report said.
The Asia Pacific region and Asia remain the key centers of demand with 131.7 million tonnes and 114.5 million tonnes, respectively although Asia Pacific's market share of total LNG imports declined by 7% compared to 2018.
By Firdevs Yuksel