• 2020 LNG demand holds steady despite COVID-19, set for growth as global economies recover

    Global Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) trade increased to 360 million tonne in 2020 despite the unprecedented volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in lockdowns all over the world, according to Royal Dutch Shell’s annual LNG Outlook published today.

    The company said the increase in volume reflects the resilience and flexibility of the global LNG market in 2020, a year that saw losses to global GDP of several trillion dollars as economies struggled to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. Demand in 2019 was 358 million tonnes.

    “As the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, natural gas and LNG have a central role to play in delivering the energy the world needs and helping power progress towards these targets,” said Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas, Renewables and Energy Solutions Director at Shell.

    Demand rebounds in Asia

    “India and China led the recovery in LNG demand following the outbreak of pandemic,” the company said based on the latest data it has published.

    India increased imports by 11 per cent in 2020 as it took advantage of lower-priced LNG to supplement its domestic gas production. On the other hand, China increased its LNG imports by 7 million tonnes to 67 million tonnes, an 11 per cent increase of the year.

    “Overall, global LNG demand is estimated to hit 700 million tonnes by 2040. Asia is expected to drive nearly 75 per cent of this growth as domestic gas production declines and LNG substitutes higher emission energy sources,” the company said.

    Two other major Asian LNG importing countries Japan and South Korea also announced net zero emissions targets in 2020. To meet its net-zero target, South Korea aims to switch 24 coal fired power plants to cleaner burning LNG by 2034.

    According to estimates, more than half of future LNG demand will come from countries with net zero emission targets.

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