LNG leader

The world’s two largest economies - the US and Mainland China - are poised to be the world’s top export and import markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2022, says a new report by IHS Markit


The report, entitled LNG Trade in 2021: Runaway Recovery finds that the US, which was the third-largest LNG exporter behind Australia and Qatar for the full year of 2021, is poised to claim the top spot in 2022. The US was the largest source of LNG supply growth in 2021, adding 25 million metric tons (MMt) amid continued buildup of liquefaction capacity as well as the ramping up of output from plants turned down the previous year.

“A new map of LNG is taking shape as 2021 became the year of rapid recovery, making the oversupply and price lows of 2020 seem like a distant memory,” said Michael Stoppard, chief strategist, global gas, IHS Markit. “It is a tale of two markets with China fuelling the demand surge as the world’s top importer and the US, poised to become the world’s leading exporter, providing the supply push.”

Among other key LNG trends observed in the report:

  • Long-term contract signings rebounded to an all-time high after a pause in 2020
  • Spot LNG prices have soared past previous records
  • Brazilian imports hit all-time high amidst drought
  • Amid strong global demand, European LNG imports fell
  • Outside of the US, utilization rates suffered