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US takes lead with 21% share in global LNG market

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The US has increased its share in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade from 1% in 2016 to 21% by the end of 2023 to become the world’s top LNG exporter.

According to Anadolu’s compilation of data from CEDIGAZ, the International Information Center on Natural Gas, the US exported 84.3 million tons of LNG to global markets last year.

Australia followed with 78.9 million tons and Qatar with 78.5 million tons.

The US made its first exports to the global LNG market in 2016, and this percentage share has increased incrementally year over year. In 2017, US exports hit a 5% share of the market, and then increased to 7% in 2018, 10% in 2019, 13% in 2020, 18% in 2021 and 20% in 2022.

With a 21% share of global LNG exports at the end of the previous year, the US was declared the world’s top LNG exporter.

Last year, global LNG supply increased by 2% to 395 million tons, registering growth of 7.3 million tons compared to the previous year.

According to CEDIGAZ data, the US has been the single largest driver behind global LNG supply, not only in 2023 but also in the last five years.

Notably, total supply from regions outside the US remained stagnant from 2019 to 2023.

In 2023 alone, the US increased its exports to 84.3 million tons, contributing 6.7 million to global LNG supply growth.

The growth in US exports is largely due to the commissioning of the Freeport LNG plant in the first quarter of 2023, which had been closed due to fire since June 2022.

Europe “fleeing” from Russia turns to US LNG

Last year, the top destination for US LNG was Europe, which has reduced its natural gas purchases from Russia.

US LNG provided a solution for many countries in Europe, which had been resisting the purchase of natural gas from Russia and had imposed an “embargo” on their exports.

Due to mild weather and waning demand, Europe has not faced supply constraints for the past two winters and has chosen to replace Russia’s LNG with US LNG.

Of the LNG exported by the US, 67% was sold to Europe, while Asia accounted for 25%, South and Central America 7%, and other countries 1%.

The country importing the most LNG on the global market was China, with 70.5 million tons. Japan followed with 66.1 million tons and South Korea with 44.2 million tons.

The top LNG importers in Europe were France with 21 million tons, Spain with 17.2 million tons and the Netherlands with 15.7 million tons. Türkiye’s LNG imports decreased by 7.7% year-on-year to 10.5 million tons.