Refinitiv Data Shows Global Imports of LNG Hit All-Time High

The world’s race to reduce and replace supplies of Russian pipeline gas in light of the war in Ukraine has prompted an unprecedented surge in global LNG imports in 2022, according to data from Refinitiv,

The growth, however, was concentrated away from poorer Asian countries, in wealthy European countries. As demand in Asia remains weak, EU nations still attract most of the US shipments of LNG despite the recent drop in the European benchmark gas prices.

Due to the soaring demand, the EU emerged as the premium market for super-chilled fuel leading to a record, total global LNG imports of 409 million tonnes last year, up from 386.5 million tonnes in 2021.

According to commodity analysts Kpler, on the other hand, figures showed slightly lower imports of 400.5 million tonnes in 2022, up from 379.6 million tonnes the previous year.

The region’s sudden pivot to liquified fuel and its rush to fill its gas storage facilities ahead of the cold season sent major ripples across an already tight global LNG market.

As European benchmark prices skyrocketed following the reduction of Russian pipeline supplies to most of the EU customers amid sanctions, the region has won the competition with Asian consumers and is estimated to have purchased around 25% of all LNG traded in 2022.

The sluggish demand in Asia, where an unusual decline in energy consumption was recorded in China due to a Covid-related slowdown in economic growth, boosted most of the European LNG purchases that hit 101 million tons in 2022, marking a growth of 58% compared to 2021.

Imports in Japan, which overtook China as the top Asian importer, also dropped to 73.61 million tonnes in 2022 from 75.35 million tonnes in 2021. Due to growing EU imports, however, most of South and Southeast Asia, on the other hand, could not afford the surging spot prices for gas.

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