Global Trade in LNG Increased by 5% in 2022
06.16.2023 By News - NEWS

June 16, 2023 [HydrocarbonEngineering]- In 2022, global trade in LNG increased by 2.6 billion ft3/d, or 5% compared with 2021, and averaged 51.7 billion ft3, according to data from CEDIGAZ. Growth in global LNG trade was supported by liquefaction capacity additions, primarily in the US, and increased LNG demand in Europe as LNG continued to displace pipeline natural gas imports from Russia.


Similar to previous years, LNG exports in 2022 increased the most from the US, growing by 1.4 billion ft3/d (16%) compared with 2021. In 1H22, the US became the world’s largest LNG exporter for the first time, after the new Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility was commissioned. However, because of the shutdown of the Freeport LNG export terminal, US LNG exports declined in the second half of the year. In 2022, Qatar and Australia remained the top two global LNG exporters; Qatar’s exports averaged 10.5 billion ft3/d, and Australia’s exports averaged 10.4 billion ft3/d.

LNG exports also increased from Malaysia, Norway (after Hammerfest LNG returned to service), Trinidad and Tobago, Russia, Oman, and Equatorial Guinea by a combined 1.3 billion ft3/d. In North Africa, LNG exports from Algeria and Nigeria decreased by a combined 0.5 billion ft3/d, as these countries continued to experience issues with domestic natural gas production, which is used as a feedstock to LNG export facilities.

Among LNG-importing regions, Europe (including Turkey) posted the largest increase in LNG imports globally, increasing by 65% (6.5 billion ft3/d) compared with 2021. LNG imports declined by 9% (3.2 billion ft3/d) in Asia and by 34% (0.8 billion ft3/d) in Latin America compared with 2021.

LNG imports into EU-27 countries and the UK increased substantially in 2022 — by 73% (6.3 billion ft3/d) compared with 2021 — replacing imports by pipeline from Russia. Five countries — France, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium — increased LNG imports by a combined 5.4 billion ft3/d, accounting for 85% of the total increase.

In 2022, Japan returned as the world’s largest LNG importer — the title it held for over 50 years until 2021 — retaking the top spot from China. Although LNG imports into Japan declined last year by 3% (0.3 billion ft3/d), averaging 9.5 billion ft3/d, imports into China declined by 20%, in part because of zero-COVID-19 policies, increased imports by pipeline from Russia, and higher use of coal. Other Asian countries, particularly those more reliant on global LNG spot markets, reduced spot purchases because of record-high LNG prices last year. LNG imports into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh declined by a combined 18% (0.9 billion ft3/d) in 2022 compared with 2021.

In Latin America, Brazil had the largest decrease in LNG imports — by 70% (0.6 billion ft3/d) — mainly because more electricity was generated by hydropower, reducing demand for natural gas-fired electricity generation in 2022 compared with 2021.

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