Globally, the United States and Australia had the largest increases in exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2017, according to the report by the International Association of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers. Combined, exports from the two countries rose 2.7 billion cubic feet per day.
The United States and Australia were among 19 countries that exported LNG in 2017, and several other countries, including Nigeria, Malaysia, Algeria, Russian and Brunei, also increased LNG exports in 2017. These countries added 1.4 billion cubic feet per day of LNG exports, more than offsetting the 0.6 billion cubic feet per day decline in exports from Qatar, Indonesia, Norway, Peru, the United Arab Emirates and Trinidad.
Global LNG trade rose 10% to 38.2 billion cubic feet per day in 2017, from 2016, and it was the largest annual rise on record, according to the report.
Forty countries imported LNG in 2017, and the imports in Asian countries accounted for 74% of the global increase in LNG imports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Imports in these countries rose 2.6 billion cubic feet in 2017. Japan received 11 billion cubic feet per day and remains the largest LNG importer. China had the largest increase (1.5 billion cubic feet per day) of LNG imports globally and became the second-largest LNG importer, surpassing South Korea. LNG imports also rose in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, and combined, they increased LNG imports by 1 billion cubic feet per day.
In Europe, LNG imports rose 1.4 billion cubic feet per day, and several of the countries that increased imports were Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Turkey. LNG imports in the United Kingdom fell 35%, or by 0.34 billion cubic feet per day, and it was one of only two countries in Europe in which the imports declined as winter heating demand decreased in the residential sector and wind electricity generation rose.
In South America, LNG imports were flat. In North America, Mexico’s LNG imports rose 17% as domestic production fell and infrastructure construction delays slowed connections allowing for pipeline exports of natural gas from the United States. In the Middle East, LNG imports fell 9%.
Increased liquefaction capacity in the United States, Australia and Russia led to a rise the LNG trade, and combined, the countries have added 3.4 billion cubic feet per day in liquefaction capacity. Also, Malaysia added the first floating liquefaction plant, adding 0.2 billion cubic feet per day of capacity. Since 2013, the United States and Australia have added 9.67 billion cubic feet per day of capacity, and another 8.3 billion cubic feet per day of capacity is expected to be completed by 2020. By 2022, global liquefaction capacity is expected to rise by 13.5 billion cubic feet per day.