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LNG trade grows 10% in 2017 as US and Australia boost exports

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Reuters are reporting that, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), global LNG trade grew by 10% last year due primarily to growing liquefaction capacity in the Australia and the US.

LNG trade reached 38.2 billion ft3 per day in 2017, up 3.5 billion ft3 per day from 2016 and the largest annual volume increase on record, the EIA said, citing the Annual Report on LNG trade by the International Association of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL).

New liquefaction export capacity commissioned in Australia, the US and Russia, collectively added 3.4 billion ft3 per day of liquefaction capacity. Russia’s new capacity only came online in December.

The world’s first floating liquefaction plant, Malaysia’s 0.2 billion ft3 per day PFLNG Satu, was also commissioned in 2017, EIA said.

Including additions in the US and Australia, liquefaction projects currently under construction are projected to increase global capacity by 13.5 billion ft3 per day by 2022, EIA said.

One billion cubic feet of natural gas is enough to fuel about five million US homes for a day.

In 2017, there were 19 LNG exporting countries and 40 importing countries.

Besides Australia and the United States, EIA said several other countries also increased LNG exports in 2017, including Angola, Nigeria, Malaysia, Algeria, Russia and Brunei, which together added another 1.4 billion ft3 per day of exports.

That more than offset a combined decline of 0.6 billion ft3 per day in exports from Qatar, Indonesia, Norway, Peru, the United Arab Emirates and Trinidad, the EIA said.

Asian countries led growth in global LNG imports, accounting for 74%, or 2.6 billion ft3 per day, of the increase in 2017.

Japan remained the largest LNG importer at 11.0 billion ft3 per day in 2017.

China had the largest growth in LNG imports globally at 1.5 billion ft3 per day and became the world’s second-largest LNG importer at 5.2 billion ft3 per day in 2017, surpassing South Korea.

LNG imports also increased in South Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Thailand, which collectively added 1.0 billion ft3 per day.

Europe increased its LNG imports by 1.4 billion ft3 per day, primarily in Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, and Turkey.

In North America, Mexico’s LNG imports increased by 17% as the country continued to rely on LNG supplies amid declining domestic production and construction delays in infrastructure connecting the Mexican domestic grid to gas pipeline exports from the US.

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