South Korea’s LNG imports rose by 17.6% to hit a record 44.3mn tons for 2018 topping the previous record of 39.9mn tons set in 2013. Qatar not only remains top supplier to the world’s #3 LNG importer, volumes were at the highest level ever, hitting 14.30mn tons for 2018. Qatar’s market share, which has come under threat from Australia and latterly the US, rose for the first time in three years in 2018. But at 32.3% Qatar’s share remains well shy of 2015’s record 37.3% (MEES, 18 January).

Number two supplier Australia actually lost market share in 2018 despite higher volumes. But, with key Australian export projects ramping up in late 2018, and Shell’s Prelude FLNG (in which Korea Gas has a 10% stake) set to ship its first cargo in the coming weeks, Australia will likely make gains this year. As will the USA, which overtook Oman (volumes steady at 4.3mn tons) to jump from Korea’s number six to number three supplier for 2018. The US is set to be the key driver of further growth in global LNG supplies in 2019. (CONTINUED - 361 WORDS)