Over the past three years, global LNG trade has stabilized at around 240 MT. Still, traded volumes in 2013 remained below the peak reached in 2011 as supply side constraints in the Atlantic Basin offset output growth in the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Since the end of 2008, eleven new countries began importing LNG – including three in 2013 – expanding the geographic reach and diversity of end markets. In tandem, interregional trade flows have shifted as a tight supply market and weak European demand have seen volumes redirected towards premium markets in the Middle East, Asia, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
European LNG imports declined for the second consecutive year in 2013, with cargoes largely diverted to higher paying markets in the Pacific Basin and Latin America. Economic stagnation, combined with the continued call on coal and renewables in power generation, will likely limit European LNG demand into 2014. The Pacific Basin is set to remain the largest source of demand, though the potential restart of nuclear generation in Japan may lower the import requirements of the world’s largest LNG consumer.
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