CHART: China’s LNG imports are surging

A LNG tanker at Karratha, Western Australia. Image: Woodside.

Research from RBC Capital Markets shows that China’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports have recently spiked.

According to RBC, China imported 3.4 million tonnes of LNG in January, up 39% on the previous period, the second highest monthly import number on record. The result comes on the back of record December data which showed imports of 3.7 million tonnes.

And what a chart it makes:


RBC expects this recent spike in imports to form part of a larger trend, “as China continues on its path to increase gas usage to 10% of the energy mix by 2020.”

That assessment is further backed up by the figures below. China’s LNG demand has recently spiked well in excess of the amount of LNG that the country produces itself, highlighting the importance of imports in the supply mix to reach the country’s production targets.

RBC Capital Markets

A 2015 report by the US Energy Information Association (EIA) states that Australia ranks second behind Qatar as an import source of LNG for China.

US Energy Information Administration

China’s commitment to meet its LNG input targets should bode well for Australia’s LNG industry in the medium term. A second report from the EIA states that “over the past decade, Australian LNG exports have increased nearly three times, and they are expected to rise substantially in the medium term as developers usher in new upstream and liquefaction capacity.”