LNG expands significantly in both Rapid and BAU, leading to a more competitive, globally integrated gas market.
LNG trade in Rapid bounces back strongly from the near-term fall associated with Covid-19, more than doubling over the first half of the Outlook, increasing from 425 Bcm in 2018 to around 1100 Bcm by the mid-2030s.
This fast growth is driven by increasing gas demand in developing Asia (China, India, and Other Asia) as gas is used to aid the switch away from coal and LNG imports are the main source of incremental supply. This surge in LNG demand is met by increasing supplies from the US, Africa , and the Middle East, which emerge as the three main hubs for LNG exports.
Global LNG imports fall back in the second half of Rapid as import demand in developing Asia starts to decline. These falls are most pronounced in China, as overall demand declines and domestic production (including biomethane) increases. LNG trade by 2050 falls to around 970 Bcm. The pace of this decline in LNG exports after the mid-2030s is greater than the speed of depreciation of liquefaction facilities, implying that towards the end of the Outlook some facilities need to be operated at less than full capacity or shut down prematurely.
LNG trade in BAU grows more slowly than in Rapid, reaching a little over 1000 Bcm by 2050. However, even in BAU, around 60% of that growth occurs over the next 10 years or so. As in Rapid, the US, Africa, and the Middle East are the main sources of incremental supply, with developing Asia the dominant destination for these increasing exports, along with the EU which remains an important balancing market for LNG in both scenarios.