The World Crowned New LNG Export and Import Champs in November

(Bloomberg) -- The reigns of Qatar as the world’s biggest seller of liquefied natural gas and Japan as the biggest buyer have come to an end.

Well, for one month at least.

The World Crowned New LNG Export and Import Champs in November

In November, Australia was the biggest exporter and China the biggest importer, according to Kpler, an energy research firm that focuses on ship-tracking data. Australia shipped out 6.55 million tons during the month, compared to 6.27 million for Qatar. The start up of new Australian projects like Inpex Corp.’s Ichthys LNG have boosted the country’s production capacity this year as it nears the end of a $200 billion construction boom.

China took in 6.56 million tons in November, a 43 percent jump from October, while Japan imported 6.39 million tons, Kpler said in an emailed report. China’s LNG imports have surged in the past two years amid government efforts to clear urban smog by replacing coal boilers with natural gas burners. Chinese buyers also wanted to build up stockpiles of the fuel ahead of winter heating season to avoid a repeat of last year’s gas shortages.

The changes underscore the shifting dynamics in the LNG industry. Among producers, Qatar is undertaking a major expansion project as it competes with growing output from Australia, North America and Russia. Global import growth is expected to be dominated by China and new, smaller markets such as Pakistan and Thailand as traditional buyers like Japan see their needs plateau.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.