Global LNG Market to Remain Tight for Years

Global LNG  Market to Remain  Tight for YearsGlobal LNG  Market to Remain  Tight for Years

The global market for shipped natural gas is entering key years of change in 2014 with several new buyers emerging while big new supplies will only slowly become available from 2015, resulting in a tight market for years to come.

Demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been rising for years, driven mostly by booming Asian demand and a loss of nuclear power in Japan and more recently South Korea. Import needs are set to rise further in 2014 as China and Latin America are becoming increasingly active buyers.

rising Chinese import capacity and continued strong demand out of Latin America suggest global LNG markets are heading towards another tight year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) said in a research note.

While demand for LNG is expected to rise, analysts say that big supply additions are not expected before 2015.

"On the supply side, there is plenty to be concerned about. Projects in Angola, Algeria and Nigeria have been underperforming. Major Australian projects should start to hit the market in 2014, but we continue to see a dearth of new liquefaction projects coming online until 2015," BoAML said.

As a result of the tight market in 2014, the report said that Asian spot prices could rise above last winter's highs of almost $20 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this winter, up from a current price of $18.30 per mmBtu.

While some new supply sources are expected to ease the market somewhat by 2015, driven largely by new exporters from the US and Australia, analysts say that a rise in LNG demand of around 7 per cent a year until 2020 will still result in a tight market for most of the decade.

 Global gas demand is surging, which is driven by a preference towards lower carbon fuels, a shift away from nuclear and emerging market growth. As a result, we expect international gas markets to remain 'tight' through to 2020.

Beyond an overall tight market outlook, large regional supply and demand differences are expected to remain in place.

North America, where the shale gas boom has pulled down prices, will benefit from low domestic prices and an opportunity to export its excess gas to Asia, where prices are expected to rise further on the back of booming demand and a lack of significant gas production of its own, the oil and gas news reported.