CEDIGAZ, the International Information Center on Natural Gas, has just released its « Medium and Long Term Natural Gas and LNG Outlooks 2020 ». Cedigaz Scenario assumes the effective realisation of official energy plans and climate policy targets. It is built upon the implementation of strong energy efficiency programmes and the expansion of low carbon technologies. It highlights that natural gas will play a growing role in the world energy mix to meet both the growing energy demand and climate policy targets. The future expansion of natural gas in the energy mix is driven by the competitiveness and abundance of resources in gas-rich countries (North America, Russia, Middle East… ), which will expand LNG export capacities required to meet the growing gas demand, especially in emerging Asian markets. Despite a post-pandemic recovery assumed post-2021, the Covid-19 pandemic has a meaningful impact on the economy, investments, energy prices and gas demand in the short and medium term. Therefore, the future expansion of gas in the next two decades is conditioned on the timely materialization of investments, especially in the upstream and LNG business, which represents a key challenge in a context of low oil and gas prices.
- In the summer 2020, international spot prices recovered strongly after months of depression. In September, European and Asian spot prices were more than twice the level of June.
- This unexpected bullish run was mainly due to a supply cutback as global LNG supply reduced more than previously anticipated. In addition to the US, which has emerged as a swing supplier, many large LNG exporters reduced exports in response to weak demand and gas prices.
- Global LNG supply had started to shrink in the second quarter (- 2% yoy) and preliminary estimates indicate that world LNG supply declined even more strongly in the third quarter, down 5% yoy, with the US and Australia leading the way.
- On the demand side, Europe, China and India have seen a recovery in gas demand. This demand uptick also helped support spot gas prices. China, where gas demand has rebounded, has been the main buyer supporting spot LNG prices.
- The forward prices indicate that this bullish trend will continue. However, strong uncertainties remain as spot prices have recently shown a great volatility and sensitiveness to unexpected events on the LNG market.