By ERIC YEP
Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade might contract
for the second year in a row in 2013 mainly due to insufficient
supply levels, analysts said.
LNG supply is lagging behind demand due to the lack of new
projects for exporting gas, and
falling supply from key exporters such as Indonesia, the Middle
East and Africa.
"Last year was the first year in which global LNG
consumption declined [in] over two decades" and this year "it
looks as if history will repeat itself," analysts at Bernstein
Research said in a note Thursday.
They said global LNG volumes declined by 3.8% for the first
six months of this year, and growth in the second half of the
year is expected to be moderate.
Last week, Japan's Institute for Energy Economics also
estimated global LNG demand in 2013 to drop to 233 million
tons, from 236.31 million tons in 2012.
It attributed the decline to falling European demand, in addition to
tighter gas supply, and said LNG demand will recover in 2014 to
around 250 million tons on Asian consumption.
Bernstein said LNG exports from Africa in the first five
months of 2013 fell 14.0% from last year to 14.3 million tons,
while the Middle East, which sent 84% of its LNG exports to
Asia, saw exports drop by 1.7% to 40.6 million tons in the same
The only region with significant supply growth was
Australia, where new projects continue to expand global
On the demand side, Asian countries continue to be the
largest market for imported gas, driving absolute global LNG
demand growth, and offsetting the decline in European markets.
Dow Jones Newswires