The LNG market in June 2020 : Qatar at full speed, US in slow motion.

Global LNG import[1] decline accelerated in June. Preliminary data[2] point to an 8% drop (-2.3 Mt) compared to May and a 4.2% decline (-1.2 Mt) year-on-year. Global net imports stood at an estimated 26.3 Mt, which is equivalent to only 72% of global liquefaction capacity, a level significantly below the 5 year capacity utilization range in June for the 2015-2019 period (81-89%). This signals a growing oversupply in the first semester as capacity utilization had remained within the 5 year range until May and shows that the LNG market flexibility needed to absorb the surplus is being stretched to its limits.


The strong decline in June is due to Europe where imports nosedived in several major importing countries : France (- 1.4 Mt), Netherlands (-0.7 Mt), UK (-0.6 Mt), Belgium (-0.6 Mt) and Turkey (-0.5 Mt). Overall European imports (including Turkey) were down 40% in June compared to May (-3.5 Mt). All other regions registered modest growths. In particular imports grew by 0.8 Mt in Asia essentially thanks to Japan (+0.6 Mt) and India (+0.4 Mt) while they declined in South Korea (-0.3 Mt) and remained almost stable in China. The year-on-year picture is less dramatic with imports down by 1.5 Mt (-23%) in Europe, essentially due to France and the Netherlands and up 0.5 Mt in Asia essentially because of China (+0.7 Mt) while South Korean imports declined by 0.5 Mt.

Oil and Gas Majors in India: Co-creating the Gas and LNG Market – REPORT

India aims to raise the share of natural gas in the energy mix from 6.5% currently to 15% in 2030. This would lead to a huge growth in LNG imports. But India is one of the most sensitive price markets and needs infrastructure development for natural gas to fulfil its development potential. To address these challenges energy majors are moving downstream to get closer to the final users. COVID-19 has introduced an additional uncertainty to natural gas demand growth but the Indian gas market fundamentals remain robust.

The Indian natural gas market presents a substantial growth perspective. The Indian Government is actively promoting natural gas to diversify its energy mix towards cleaner fuels, reduce oil dependency and tackle air pollution in big cities. The aim is to move towards a gas-based economy and raise the share of natural gas in the energy mix to 15% by 2030 from around 6.5% now. Over the past two years, there has been growing attention on rapidly building out gas infrastructure, including inter- and intra-state pipelines, LNG import terminals, city gas distribution networks to cover over 70% of the population, and CNG/LNG stations across the country. Domestic and foreign investments in the natural sector are likely to amount to $60 billion over the next five years.

Outlook for Indian LNG imports

Source: CEDIGAZ, IEA WEO2019

Quarterly report – Q2 2020 – International natural gas prices

  • International spot prices have pursued a phenomenal decline in the first five months of the year due to the combined effects of milder weather, COVID-19 driven demand destruction and the ongoing LNG overhang leading to record-high storage levels.
  • In the second quarter of 2020, the lockdown-induced demand shock combined with LNG oversupply pushed international spot prices to new record lows.
  • Preliminary estimates indicate that world LNG supply weakened in the second quarter, mainly due to the downward flexibility of US LNG. 
  • LNG is being supplied to Europe at a discount vs. oil-indexed contract prices. Given the extent of oversupply in the LNG market, major pipeline gas suppliers are losing market share. 
  • The US has been the only market to reduce LNG production in a significant manner in response to the weakening of international LNG prices in the second quarter, emerging as a marginal or “swing” supplier for the global LNG market. 
  • The forward curve suggests prices facing continued downward pressure throughout the summer, despite a likely decline in world LNG supply.