Global LNG trade increased by 13% year-on-year to 144 million metric tons in the first half 2017, according to authoritative data.
Asia, but also Europe, recorded the strongest growth, according to the data from shipbrokers Clarksons Platou.
Northeast Asia (Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan) saw LNG imports increase by 14% year-on-year in 1H2017 to 86.6mn mt, remaining by far the largest LNG import region globally. However, the rate of growth into smaller ‘other Asia’ markets was even higher at 17% reaching 16.4mn mt.
Europe, which has seen limited LNG demand of late, also increased imports by 15% to 23.4mn mt, according to the same data, whereas there was little growth into the Middle East (up 3% to 8.1mn mt) or the Americas (up 1% to 9.4mn mt).
Europe is generally seen as the global LNG trade's ‘market of last resort’ as it has lots of spare receiving capacity, very liquid trading hubs, but normally weaker pricing than Asia, the Mideast Gulf and Latin America.
The Clarksons Platou 1H volume data was published in a 2Q results presentation by Oslo-listed shipowner Hoegh LNG on August 24. Full year 2016 import data was published in March 2017 by industry association GIIGNL.
Hoegh separately said that Pakistan imported 3mn mt in full year 2016 and is targeting LNG imports of 30mn mt in 2022, and thus requiring more FSRUs (floating import terminals). Oslo-listed Hoegh LNG is co-developing one there with QP, ExxonMobil, Total, Mitsubishi and local GEIL.
Clarksons Platou said in June it was expanding its Tokyo office and, on August 23, said it is re-establishing a Swiss office in Geneva.