LNG grows substantially, increasing the accessibility of gas around the globe


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.‎