Global trade of liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached record numbers in 2015, according to a new report.
The International Group of LNG Importers said shipments of LNG grew by 2.5 percent to an all-time high of 245.2 million tons annually.
Increased trade was driven by new liquefaction plants in Indonesia and Australia. The new facilities began exporting LNG to customers in Europe and the Middle East and contributed 11.4 million tons per year of new liquefaction capacity. Australia became the second-largest exporter of LNG, surpassing Malaysia.
There were 19 exporting counties in 2015. Qatar was the global export leader, supplying 32 percent of LNG volumes in 2015.
With the opening of Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass export facility early this year, the United States is on track to become the world’s leading supplier of flexible LNG.
Even with abundant supplies of LNG, demand may be wavering. Markets in South Korea and Japan experienced their first decline since the 2009 recession.
“In a global context of lower energy prices and sluggish economic growth, the LNG industry is holding its breath for the impact of an export wave from the United States,” GIIGNL president Domenico Dispenza said.
Though global demand remains uncertain, several markets have emerged. Three counties — Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan — started importing LNG in 2015, alleviating some pressure from the supply glut.