A boom in LNG trade is seen in the coming years in view of the expansion of Qatar’s LNG industry as well as in other GECF member countries in addition to liquefaction facilities coming online in the US and Australia, according to the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.
Rapidly expanding production and trade of pipeline gas and, especially, liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been observed in recent years.
In 2016, global trade of LNG totalled 257.7mn tonnes (MT) — a 15MT increase from the previous year, said Dr SM Hossein Adeli, GECF secretary-general. This is the largest incremental growth in LNG volume since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
In its outlook, the GECF expects the boom in LNG trade to continue, with liquefaction facilities coming online in the US and Australia at increasingly higher rates. The second wave of expansion will come primarily from Qatar and other GECF members (by 2025), as well as from the US.
Significant developments in pipeline infrastructure are also taking place in the CIS region, expanding pipeline capacity that will drive exports to China and Europe through the Power of Siberia and the Southern Gas Corridor, respectively.
Most GECF members are developing countries (e.g. Russia, Iran, Qatar, UAE), with economic growth potential over the next decades.
These countries possess rich fossil fuel resources, particularly natural gas, which contributes to rapid growth in most sectors and associated energy consumption over the 2017-2040 outlook period, the GECF said.
In the early 2010s, the Middle East was the biggest LNG exporter globally, with more than one-third of the region’s LNG volumes being exported from Qatar, Oman, the UAE, and Yemen.
However, capacity expansion in other regions has eroded its share of the market. It is forecasted that, by the end of 2020, only 28% of total LNG exports will come from the Middle East.
However, the GECF said there is optimism over developments, which will increase absolute levels of exports in the region: de-bottlenecking of existing capacity and capacity additions announced in Qatar by 30%; recovering LNG capacity in Yemen; and the entrance of Iran into the LNG export market.
The developments in Qatar and Iran will increase the region’s share of LNG exports to more than 30% by 2025, the GECF noted.
The share of the GECF countries will drop from 59% in 2016 to 47% in 2020, recovering to around 52% by 2025 and reaching 50% by 2040.
The GECF said in its ‘GECF Global Gas Outlook 2017’ that unconventional natural gas resources would play an increasingly greater role in global supply. The outlook projects that the share of unconventional gas in total gas production will rise from approximately 16% today, to more than 30% in 2040.
A low-carbon future is emerging as a key concern for the international community, especially with the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, the GECF noted.
This agreement has galvanised the energy community, with more than 190 countries pledging to mitigate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
Paving the way to a low carbon future must take into account the compatibility of CO2 mitigation with sustainable development, including its economic, social, and environmental dimensions, the outlook said.
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