Aus to trump Qatar for LNG top spot in 2020 – study

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A LNG tanker prepares to deliver its latest cargo. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

A LNG tanker prepares to deliver its latest cargo. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Australia could overhaul Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2020, according to a study by Lloyd’s Register.

The study, which was compiled alongside University of Strathclyde and tech firm QinetiQ, found that India and China will see huge increases in imports of LNG between 2010 and 2030, driving global growth for exports.

According to the US Department of Energy, Qatar was the world’s biggest exporter of LNG in 2011 with 75.5m tonnes, or 31 percent of global exports. Malaysia was the second highest with 25m tonnes, and Australia fourth largest with 19.2m tonnes.

"The largest export increases will take place in Australia and Nigeria. East Africa, in particular Mozambique, could be a new hotspot in LNG exports due to its recent large offshore discoveries," the report read.

Australia currently has more than $100bn in LNG projects in the pipeline or waiting for regulatory approval.

The Lloyd’s Register report also found that the two biggest seaborne LNG trade routes in 2030 will be between Australia and Japan and Australia and China. 

Egypt to India and the UK; CIS to Japan; Nigeria to China and the UK; and Qatar to India and the UK will also see significant gains, Lloyd’s said.

The study also said it expected the total tonnage of LNG ships to increase by 1.8 to three times what it currently is within the next decade.

The LNG carrier sector will primarily be controlled by the Middle East, Europe and Japan, with a rising challenge coming from China and Africa.

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