Australia is among the top three exporters of LNG globally, taking the “crown” during 2022. So far this year, the country has seen increased exports of 1.3%, placing the country in second place, ahead of Qatar, but behind the USA. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “global seaborne LNG trade has continued to surge last year, helped also by the events in Ukraine which forced Europe to diversify away from Russian pipeline gas. In the full 12 months of 2022, global shipments of LNG increased by +4.9% y-o-y to 404.1 mln t, based on Refinitiv vessel tracking data. This year, things started very strongly in the first quarter, but then slowed down somewhat over the spring and summer”.
According to Banchero Costa, “in the first 8 months of 2023, LNG shipments increased by +1.7% y-o-y to 271.8 mln tonnes, from 267.2 mln tonnes in the same period last year. By far the biggest increase in demand over the last couple of years came from Europe. In Jan-Dec 2022, the European Union imported 100.9 mln tonnes of LNG, an increase of +68.9% y-o-y from the 59.7 mln tonnes imported in 2021. In the first 8 months of 2023, the EU imported 69.8 mln tonnes of LNG, which was +6.7% more than in the same period last year”.
The report added that “the EU27 now accounts for 25.7% of global seaborne LNG imports, well ahead of China in second place with 16.7% and Japan with 16.1%. In Jan-Aug 2023, the United Kingdom also imported 11.3 mln tonnes of LNG, -6.2% y-o-y from the 12.1 mln t in Jan-Aug 2022, but well above the 7.6 mln t in Jan-Aug 2021. The UK now accounts for 4.2% of global LNG imports. Mainland China imported 45.3 mln tonnes of LNG in Jan-Aug 2023, +10.4% y-o-y from 41.0 mln t in JanAug 2022, but below the 52.4 mln t in Jan-Aug 2021. India saw a modest +1.0% y-o-y increase to 13.6 mln t in Jan-Aug 2023, but was well below the 15.9 mln t in Jan-Aug 2021. Japan saw a -14.6% y-o-y decline in imports in Jan-Aug 2023 to 43.8 mln tonnes, which is the lowest volumes in at least a decade”.
“Australia over the last two years has managed to overtake Qatar to the spot of top exporter of LNG in the world. In the full year of 2022, Australia exported 81.3 mln tonnes of seaborne LNG, according to Refinitiv vessel tracking data. This accounted for 20.1% of global LNG shipments. Qatar was just behind with 79.9 mln t, or a 19.8% share, in 2022. The USA were third with 79.4 mln t, or a 19.7% share, in 2022. In the first 8 months of 2023, Australia exported 53.9 mln tonnes of LNG, which was a +1.3% y-o-y increase. This was behind the USA’s 57.4 mln tonnes but ahead of Qatar’s 53.1 mln t in the same Jan-Aug period. Top loading ports for Australian LNG in are: Gladstone (15.6 mln t in JanAug 2023), Dampier (13.0 mln t), Barrow Island (10.8 mln t), Ashburton (6.8 mln t), Darwin (5.9 mln t), Prelude FLNG (1.9 mln t). In terms of destinations for Australian LNG, it’s almost entirely shipped to East Asian destinations”, the shipbroker noted.
“In Jan-Aug 2023, LNG exports from Australia to Mainland China increased by +15.6% y-o-y to 16.2 mln tonnes from 14.0 mln t in JanAug 2022, but was still well below the 21.3 mln t in Jan-Aug 2021. China is now the destination for 30.0% of Australia’s total LNG exports in Jan-Aug 2023. Volumes to Japan have declined in Jan-Aug 2023 by -14.1% y-o-y to 18.3 mln tonnes from 21.3 mln t in JanAug 2022, but are above the 18.1 mln t in Jan-Aug 2021. Japan is the destination for 34.0% of Australian LNG shipments this year. The third top destination is South Korea, which accounts for 31.1% of Australian LNG shipments in 2023. Shipments from Australia to South Korea declined by -6.9% y-o-y in JanAug 2023 to 7.0 mln tonnes. To South East Asia volumes increased by +28.5% y-o-y to 6.2 mln tonnes in Jan-Aug 2023. This includes 2.5 mln tonnes to Thailand (up from 1.3 mln t in JanAug 2022 and 0.2 mln t in Jan-Aug 2021), as well as 1.9 mln t to Singapore, and 1.5 mln t to Malaysia”, Banchero Costa concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide