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 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)


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)