International natural gas trade in the world – Main trends in 2019
International natural gas trade (including LNG-re-exports) increased by 4.3% to 1255 bcm in 2018, accounting for a third of global gas supply, compared to 30% five years ago.
This expansion was driven by LNG trade (+ 9%), while the growth of pipeline trade slowed to 1.9%.
Excluding LNG re-exports, international trade rose 4.1% to 1250 bcm, on a par with the five year average (+ 4%/year).
Total intraregional trade grew by 2.2% to 704 bcm, as a result of expanding intra-Asian LNG flows (Australia’s supply ramp-up).
Like the previous year, interregional* (long-distance) trade surged 7% to 551 bcm, boosted by LNG deliveries to Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Europe’s gas and LNG imports from Russia.
Net interregional gas imports in Asia surged by 21% to 201 bcm, while they increased by 4% to 314 bcm in Europe.
The share of Asia in total net international import flows has surged steadily from 35% in 2016 to 37% in 2017 and 40% in 2018, while that of Europe declined 2 points to 44% in 2018.
Russia bolstered its standing as the largest gas exporter, accounting for 24% of total net exports flows in 2018 (23% in 2017), followed by Qatar (13%), Norway (12%) and Australia (9%).
China overtook Japan to become the largest importer, with 13% of international net imports, followed by Japan (12%) and Germany (9%).
LNG supply soared 8.7% to 415 bcm in 2018, marking the third largest annual increase behind 2010 and 2017.
LNG’s share in total trade increased to an all-time high of 33%, from 32% in 2017.
*Total flows between the seven CEDIGAZ regions (North America, South & Central America, Europe, CIS, Africa, Middle East, Asia Oceania), not including trade within CEDIGAZ regions.