Qatar maintains lead in LNG exports
Qatar has retained its top position in the world of global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export market. The country exported nearly 77 million tonnes (MT) of LNG in 2014 which was approximately one-third of global supply, according to International Gas Union report.
It remained the largest LNG exporter with a sizeable margin as the gap between Qatar and its competitors was huge. Malaysia and Australia — the world’s second and third largest LNG producers respectively — saw LNG exports reach an all time high. In 2014, Malaysia exported around 25MT LNG while Australia exported 23MT. Nigeria was the fourth largest exporter providing around 19MT to the market. Overall, LNG trade globally reached around 241MT in 2014, a 4.3MT increase over 2013 levels, added the report.
Qatar ranks third in the world in terms of natural gas reserves and it holds about 13.1 percent of the world’s total proven gas reserves.
The Middle East remained the largest exporting region, despite LNG exports declining by 1.2MT in 2014. At 97.3MT in 2014, the Middle East supplied over 40 percent of the global LNG market.
On a regional basis, LNG trade was primarily supported by export growth in Asia Pacific where total exports reached 74MT ( a growth of 3.2MT) in 2014, or 31 percent of global supply.
African LNG exports also rose by 1.6MT year on year, with Africa maintaining a 15 percent global market share (36.6MT).
On the import side in global LNG trade, 29 countries imported LNG in 2014. Four new countries — Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan and Poland — are expected to join the LNG market in 2015. Asia Pacific remained the dominant LNG market in 2014, consuming 60 percent of total LNG production. Japan is the largest market in the region (and globally), followed by South Korea and Taiwan.
Asia narrowly outstripped Europe as the second largest LNG market for the first time in 2014, with China and India importing a combined 34.6MT, just over 14 percent of global trade. European imports stood slightly lower at 33MT, down nearly 50 percent from a peak of 65.6MT in 2011.
China and India accounted for over 70 percent of all incremental demand growth, while South Korea observed the largest import decline globally.
Japan — the world’s single largest LNG market — saw LNG imports rise by 1.1MT over 2013 levels. Japanese LNG demand has grown rapidly since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, which led to the progressive shutdown of all of Japan’s nuclear power plants and increased the call on LNG-in-power. European LNG demand continued to fall in 2014 on the back of gas to coal switching in power, higher renewable generation and stagnant economic conditions.