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Editorial comment

Taking the opportunity to mention the over-used phrase ‘time flies’, it seems a lifetime ago when I was writing the December 2020 comment from my work from home ‘office’ surrounded by festive scents of gingerbread being baked and dried orange slices awaiting their addition to the front door’s wreath.

The December 2021 comment is being produced rather differently – normal routines have resumed, offices are open, and I seem to have misplaced the gallons of hand sanitiser that, a mere few months ago, was as glued to me as my mobile phone. The recent, unwelcome arrival of Omicron, however, could disrupt life yet again, as COVID-19 proves that no one should get comfortable and think tranquillity has returned to the health of the global population. In the UK, the current panic is that our Christmas parties shall be cancelled in the wake of this new variant, and that there will be too few turkeys to feed us all on Christmas Day (blame here is on Brexit). First world problems perhaps.

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To say this year has been a rollercoaster is to put it politely. One week we are entering shops without face masks, the next we require them; another week I can arrive freely in Paris, the next I am denied entry without a PCR test (not the highlight of my weekend). Whilst our personal and professional lives have taken somewhat of a battering this year, at least we can draw positives from the glimmers of progress witnessed in the LNG industry.

2019 was a record-breaking year for the LNG industry, and with the onset of COVID-19, 2020 did not exactly improve upon the 70 million tpy of new LNG capacity generated in 2019. In fact, 2020 produced just one Final Investment Decision (FID) for a project, thus all eyes were on 2021 for any ounce of improvement. Fortunately, this year has delivered, with 50 million tpy of new LNG supply taking FID (an impressive 47 million tpy increase on last year), for projects including Baltic LNG and North Field East.

Asia – specifically China – is really carrying the team for global LNG demand. GlobalData’s report (p.8), outlines how global LNG regasification capacity is expected to add more than 28 000 billion ft3 during the period 2021 - 2030, and Asia will dominate this, being responsible for 80% of the capacity additions by 2030. China will be one of the primary drivers of these additions, due to a combination of factors that include rapidly increasing industrial demand for gas, strong policy support providing scope for LNG demand, and lack of sufficient natural gas production. Chinese buyers have been unbelievably active this year, with the likes of CNOOC, Sinopec, and Sinochem concluding deals, and emerging buyers also standing in the limelight, including Shenergy Group and ENN.

My December 2020 comment concluded with hopes of recovery and optimism, and this is somewhat reflected in the choice of Word of the Year 2021 by the Oxford dictionary: Vax. With 43% of the global population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and travel only allowed once vaccinated, the choice of word does make sense. As a bizarre 12 months comes to an end, LNG Industry thanks all our readers for their support and positivity, and we look forward to continuing to deliver our informative products to you in 2022. We wish you all a healthy and prosperous holiday season.