Global LNG Trade Projected Up 4% in 2019; Huge Shifts in Trade Between Regions

LNG trade is projected to exceed 340 million tons by year end 2019, up 4% from 2018, based on latest available statistics from 90 countries. Major increases in exports from US and Russia are impacting trade flows globally.

Exports from North America are projected to exceed 31 million tons by year end, up 49%. LNG exports from the United States have risen steadily and totaled 26.3 million tons through September, up 60%. Shipments to all regions increased, with the highest percentage gains on exports to Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Exports to Asia-Pacific also posted a gain, despite a sharp decline in US shipments to China. The average price picked up to $250/ton in September after a long downward slide.

Exports from Eastern Europe are projected to reach 30 million tons by year end, up 91%. Russia’s export statistics show 20.7 million tons of LNG shipped through September, up 58%. Shipments spiked in April, slipped and then began climbing. Shipments were directed mainly to Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. Norway was reported as the top destination, followed by Japan, Korea, France, Taiwan and China. The average price picked up to $247/ton in September, following a steep drop. (See additional analysis on Eastern European LNG trade by Christiana Fierro in the blog dated October 18, 2019.)

Middle East exports are projected to decline by 14%, to 91 million tons, mainly on lower volumes to both Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe.

By Jean J. Sudol. Data from International Trader Publications’ LNG World Trade Report, a continuously updated online analysis of global LNG trade.