Home / Shipping News / Hellenic Shipping News / US LNG Exports Took a Backseat During 2020: Will the Trend Reverse This Year?

US LNG Exports Took a Backseat During 2020: Will the Trend Reverse This Year?

Seaborne LNG exports from the US grew marginally during 2020, as opposed to a more robust overall rise. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “the USA are currently the third largest seaborne exporter of LNG in the world after Qatar and Australia, accounting for 18% of the global LNG market. Exports from the USA are surging in the last few years, unlike from Qatar where production and export capacity have been static for quite a while. Even in 2020, the USA were the only success story on the export front. Overall, in the 12 months of 2020, global seaborne LNG trade increased marginally by +1.5% year-on-year to 362.8 mln tonnes, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv. This number might sound positive, until you remember that LNG trade grew by +11.1% y-o-y in 2019, and by +9.1% y-o-y in 2018. Even in 2020, the United States, saw LNG exports surge by +31.8% y-o-y to 48.2 mln tonnes. For comparison, exports from Qatar increased by just +1.0% y-o-y in 2020 to 77.7 mln tonnes”.

Source: Banchero Costa

The shipbroker added that “from Australia exports increased by +0.5% y-o-y to 77.3 mln tonnes. From Russia they increased by +1.0% y-o-y to 28.7 mln tonnes. So far in 2021, things are even better. Overall, global LNG exports increased by +5.4% y-o-y in the January to June period of 2021, to 194.2 mln tonnes. Again, the star performance was from the United States, which recorded a +41.7% y-o-y increase to 35.1 mln tonnes in Jan-Jun 2021. Elsewhere, it was a mixed picture. Australia saw a marginal -0.4% y-o-y decline in the first 6 months of 2021, at 38.5 mln tonnes. Qatar recorded a modest +1.0% y-oy increase in exports in the first 6 months of 2021, at 39.7 mln tonnes. In terms of destinations, once again, the Pacific basin performed much much better than the Atlantic”.

According to Banchero Costa, “global LNG exports to Mainland China increased by +26.0% y-o-y in Jan-Jun 2021 to 38.3 mln tonnes. Exports to the European Union collapsed by -15.1% y-o-y to 31.0 mln tonnes in Jan-Jun 2021. Looking specifically at LNG shipments from the United States, one might have expected the country to have struggled with exports to China, given the current rocky political climate between the two countries. In fact, this does not seem to be the case at all. Exports from the USA to Mainland China actually surged by +277% y-o-y to an all time record of 3.7 mln tonnes in the first 6 months of 2021, up from 1.0 mln tonnes in Jan-Jun 2020, and 0.1 mln tonnes in the same period of 2019.

Source: Banchero Costa

China is the fifth top destination for American LNG this year, accounting for 10.5% of the USA’s total exports so far this year. Also, exports from the USA to South America surged by +165% y-o-y in the first 6 months of 2021, to 4.5 mln tonnes. This included 2.6 mln tonnes to Brazil, 1.4 mln tonnes to Chile, 0.5 mln tonnes to Argentina, and 0.1 mln tonnes to Colombia. South America accounts now for 12.9% of USA exports. Shipments are also increasing to South Korea, up by +37.0% y-o-y so far this year to 4.3 mln tonnes. Volumes to Japan increased by +51.4% y-o-y in the same period to 3.8 mln tonnes. To India it was +85.3% y-o-y to 2.0 mln tonnes. To Taiwan +15.3% y-o-y to 0.8 mln tonnes. Still, the top destination remains Europe, with the EU27 accounting for 24.2% of American LNG shipments this year, and the United Kingdom a further 5.7%. Volumes from the USA to the EU27 declined by -5.5% y-o-y in Jan-Jun 2021 to 8.5 mln tonnes. To the UK it was up +22.9% y-o-y to 2.0 mln tonnes in Jan-Jun 2021”, the shipbroker concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Recent Videos

Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide Online Daily Newspaper on Hellenic and International Shipping