East Asian Importers Take Less LNG In 2015; Little Sign Of An Upturn In 2016

Japan, South Korea , China, East Asia and the world’s largest buyers of LNG all took lower volumes last year.

Buying fell by a collective 7mn tons or almost 5% (see graph 1) amid lacklustre demand. Even if demand stabilizes this year – by no means a foregone conclusion – a pipeline of new supply coming onstream, from Australia and the US in particular, means that for Middle East producers, starting with Qatar, the competition is becoming increasingly palpable.

JAPAN: NUCLEAR RESTARTS

Japan notched up three straight years of record 87mn tons-plus LNG imports following 2011’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, which led to the shut in of the country’s entire nuclear fleet. However plants finally began to restart last year, leading to a 4% fall in the country’s LNG imports (see p17 for full data). In this perspective, its LNG outlook is comparable to that of South Korea, which imported almost 9% less LNG in 2015 annually, or 33.37mn tons, the lowest level since 2010 (MEES, 22 January). (CONTINUED - 1252 WORDS)

DATA INSIDE THIS ARTICLE

chart Graph 1: Asia’s Three Largest Lng Importers All Saw Volumes Slide In 2015 (Mn T)
chart 2: Japan: Average LNG Import Prices From Key Suppliers ($/MN BTU)
chart 3: Japan's Top LNG Suppliers: Qatar Drops To No.3 Behind Australia, Malaysia
chart China LNG Imports: Total Steady But Mena & Qatar Share At Lowest Level Since 2011 (Mn T)