Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
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US expected to be world’s biggest LNG exporter

US expected to be world’s biggest LNG exporter

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NEW YORK: The US is poised to be the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas globally this year as China, the world’s second-biggest economy, becomes the top importing market for LNG, according to IHS Markit.

The US, which was the third-largest LNG exporter behind Australia and Qatar in 2021, is poised to claim the top spot in 2022, according to IHS.

The US was the largest source of LNG supply growth in 2021, adding 25 million metric tonnes (MMt) amid continued buildup of liquefaction capacity as well as the ramping up of output from plants turned down the previous year, according to IHS. Average utilisation for US plants climbed to 98 per cent in the third quarter of 2021 from 43 per cent in the same period a year earlier, report agencies.

LNG is natural gas that turns into a colourless and non-toxic liquid when cooled to about -162°C (-260°F). The cooling process shrinks the volume of the gas, making it easy to ship and store. It can be used for cooking, heating homes and generating electricity manufacturing products like fertilisers, paints, medicines and fuelling commercial vehicles.

Demand for LNG globally is currently projected to grow by up to 5 per cent annually over the next 20 years, as it can contribute to better air quality and lower green house gas emissions in the power sector. This makes LNG ideal for the transition to a low-carbon energy future, supporting a mix of fuels to help countries balance energy demand with their clean energy goals.

Global LNG demand grew by 20 million tonnes per year in 2021 with Asia accounting for virtually all of the growth, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Demand in China grew more than 18 per cent with imports climbing above 81 MMt in 2021, making it the world’s top importer, overtaking Japan. Japan LNG imports were flat year-over-year at 75 MMt, marking the first time since the early 1970s that the country has not been the world’s largest LNG importer, according to IHS.

South Korea was in third place at 46.4 MMt. Brazil registered the largest increase in a country’s annual demand, which more than tripled to reach 7.5 MMt amid a drought and weak hydropower generation that forced the market to rely more heavily on LNG imports.