Who are the main global LNG exporters?

Who are the main global LNG exporters?
Who are the main global LNG exporters?

Liquefied natural gas (LNGLNG) is of natural gasnatural gas cooled to an extremely low temperature (-162°C), to the point of making it liquidliquid. This process of liquefactionliquefaction reduces the volumevolume natural gas by about 600 times, making it easier to store and transport.

Natural gas can thus be transported over long distances where pipelines are neither possible nor economical – for example, between two continents. It’s also much more secure than others combustiblescombustibles fossilsfossilssince in the event of a leak, the LNG evaporates quickly and dissipates, reducing the risk of pollution or explosion.

Natural gas is extracted from the ground, along with other hydrocarbonshydrocarbons. After extraction, it is purified to remove impurities such as water, carbon dioxidecarbon dioxide or even the Hydrogen sulfideHydrogen sulfide. Once purified, it is cooled to -162°C (-260°F) to be transformed into a liquid. This process takes place in liquefaction plants. The LNG is then transported in LNG carriersLNG carriers thermally insulated to regasification terminals located in importing countries. Once it arrives at its destination, the LNG is reheated to become gaseous again, then distributed via pipelinespipelines towards end consumers.

LNG has many functions. It is used to power power plants that produce electricity, for residential and commercial heating. It is also used in various industries for the production of heatheator like mattermatter first for the manufacture of chemicals. Increasingly used as a fuel for ships and trucks, it helps reduce pollutant emissions compared to traditional fuels because it emits less carbon dioxide and air pollutants when burned.

A process more expensive and polluting than it seems

However, this fossil fuel is not a miracle solution!

The costs of constructionconstruction liquefaction, transportation and regasification facilities are very high, increasing the final price of LNG compared to natural gas transported by pipeline.

While LNG is cleaner than coal or oil, powerful methane leaks greenhouse gasgreenhouse gas, can occur at every stage of the supply chain, from extraction to distribution. In addition, the process of liquefaction, transportation and regasification consumes a lot ofenergyenergywhich may diminish the overall environmental benefits of LNG.

Disadvantages which do not prevent LNG from covering “more than 30% of international natural gas trade”analyzes the supplier Axègaz on its site InternetInternet.

And demand continues to increase, with no less than 20 exporting countries, and exports increasing by 4.9% between 2021 and 2022, reveals the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL) in its latest published report in 2023.

Top 10 LNG exporters

This report, which collected and analyzed data for the year 2022, also reveals the list of the industry’s biggest names for the year, led by…

Qatar – 79 million tonnes (MT)

Although Russia and Iran have larger natural gas reserves, Qatar still comes first in this ranking. At issue: massive investments in the infrastructure necessary for the liquefaction and export of natural gas. Added to this is relative political stability which favors investments and the continuity of exports. Finally, Qatar can count on a network of loyal customers thanks to long-term contracts and its strategic position.

Australia – 78.5 MT

Australia has invested heavily in LNG projects, such as Gorgon, Wheatstone and Ichthys, and has vast gas reserves offshoreoffshore, particularly on its west coast. Its exports are mainly directed to Asian markets (Japan, China, South Korea).

United States – 75.4 MT

The revolution of shale gasshale gas has transformed the United States into a major LNG exporter. Liquefaction terminals on the Gulf Coast facilitate exports to Europe and Asia and have allowed Uncle Sam to rapidly increase its liquefaction capacity in recent years.

Russia with 32 MT

Russia has huge reserves of natural gas, particularly in Siberia. Titanic projects like Yamal LNG and Sakhalin-2 are pillars of its LNG exports, shared between Europe and Asia. A (very) comfortable position, but undermined on the European side by the sanctions taken after the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

Malaysia with 27.6 MT

Malaysia has significant gas reserves, mainly located offshore in Sarawak. Petronas, the national company, plays a crucial role in the LNG sector and oversees exports, mainly to neighboring Asian countries.

Nigeria with 18.8 MT

Nigeria is the main producer of LNG in Africa and exports mainly to Europe and Asia.

Indonesia with 14.8 MT

Indonesia has significant gas reserves, mainly in Tangguh and Bontang. It has been exporting LNG for several decades. Its main markets are Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Algeria with 14.2 MT

Algeria has substantial natural gas reserves in the Sahara. Its LNG industry is well established, with facilities in Arzew and Skikda, and its exports are mainly to Europe.

Egypt with 9.9 MT

Egypt has recently increased its LNG exports thanks to the discovery of large offshore gas fields, notably the Mediterranean Zohr field. The country’s main markets are in Europe and Asia.

Norway with 9.4 MT

Finally, Norway has natural gas reserves in the North SeaNorth Sea and the Barents Sea. The Snøhvit LNG project at Hammerfest is one of the main contributors to Norwegian exports, mainly directed to Europe, helping to diversify the old continent’s sources of supply.

This ranking, relatively stable for several years, should be slightly modified for the year 2023, since Bloomberg announced that the United States had, for the first time, exported as much as Qatar.

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