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Global LNG imports edge up by 0.4% to 356 million mt in 2020: GIIGNL


LNG trade 'resilient' despite pandemic: report

Regasification capacity up to 947 million mt/year

Methane emissions could influence LNG trade talks

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Alisdair Bowles
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas
  • Topic
  • LNG Commoditization

Global LNG imports edged up in 2020 by 0.4% year on year to 356.1 million mt, industry body GIIGNL said in its annual report published April 27.

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In the report, GIIGNL said LNG trade had proven to be "resilient" despite the challenges imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, though the rate of growth was well down on the 13% year-on-year increase in 2019.

Eight new LNG import terminals were commissioned in 2020, the report said -- two in Brazil and one each in Bahrain, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Puerto Rico.

Total regasification capacity rose to 947 million mt/year by the end of 2020, an increase of 25.9 million mt/year from a year earlier, it said.

In addition, 11 new floating and 22 new onshore terminals were reported to be under construction at the end of 2020.

"Total regasification capacity under construction at the end of the year reached 157 million mt/year, with 74% located in Asia," it said.

Once completed, these will easily push global regasification capacity above 1 billion mt/year.

On the supply side, global liquefaction capacity reached 454 million mt/year by year-end, with new additional capacity amounting to 24 million mt/year.

At the end of the year, approximately 108 million mt/year of new liquefaction capacity was under construction, GIIGNL said.

Emissions action

In the report, GIIGNL President Jean Abiteboul said LNG offered significant potential to help reduce emissions and improve air quality in Asia by displacing coal and other polluting fuels in a variety of sectors.

"Substantial investment in infrastructure and access to low-cost supply will be vital in order for new demand to materialize," he said.

Abiteboul said that the LNG industry's optimism "also comes with great responsibilities," adding that net-zero targets had been announced by several countries including Japan, South Korea and China, the three largest LNG importers.

"Methane emissions could increasingly influence future international trade discussions, in particular with the EU," he said.

European gas buyers are increasingly factoring in the methane footprint of the supplies they secure amid growing concerns over methane emissions associated with upstream and midstream activity.

"Fortunately, greenhouse gas emissions emissions associated with the LNG supply chain can be closely monitored and mitigated thanks to the gas industry's experience combined with the development of new technologies," Abiteboul said.

"As is the case in other sectors, the LNG industry is actively deploying solutions to minimize its carbon footprint, including efforts to avoid, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions."

Methane is significantly more polluting than carbon dioxide, with estimates suggesting it is 84 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe.

The European Commission last October published its first ever strategy aimed at curbing methane emissions and plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the issue over the course of 2021.