Industry poll shows uncertainty over European LNG legacy

Source: GL Noble Denton

Asia’s growing appetite for liquefied natural gas (LNG) has left industry professionals divided in opinion over the security of supply to Europe, according to a poll of delegates at the Gastech Exhibition and Conference in London.

53% of participants said that the recent surge in LNG demand from Asia could lead to a diversion in supplies intended for Europe, as liquefaction plants struggle to cope with growing rates of worldwide consumption. By contrast, 47% of participants dismissed these concerns, suggesting that new LNG projects planned for countries including Australia, Nigeria and Mozambique would be able to supply increasing global demand.

The Industry Snapshot Poll was conducted on the third day of Gastech by global independent technical advisor to the oil and gas industry GL Noble Denton. Senior professionals from across the sector also took part in the poll online.

Asia’s demand for LNG has risen sharply over recent years, with future growth driven primarily by China. There is speculation that the country will need an 80% increase in LNG imports by 2030 to meet increasing demand. Industry analysts also expect consumption to increase in Japan, the world’s biggest LNG user, which imported more than 78 million tonnes during the last financial year.

An industry forecast this summer revealed that European LNG supplies could plummet by almost 70% by 2015 due to growth in demand from Asia and analysts are pointing to a 33% year-on-year fall in LNG delivery to Europe as evidence of an impending shortage of supply.

However, LNG production is projected to grow by 4.5% per year to 2030, as a result of increased production planned in Australia, Africa and the Middle East, and some industry professionals predict this rise will be sufficient to cover rising demand from both Europe and Asia.

Martin Layfield, GL Noble Denton’s Vice President for Gas Consulting, said: “The result of this poll shows that the gas industry is uncertain over the security of future LNG supply to Europe. While professionals recognise that positive steps are being taken to increase production in line with Asian demand, a significant proportion of respondents is clearly worried that despite industry plans to invest in new LNG projects in the short term European supplies could be curtailed by rising Asian demand.”

This was the last of three Industry Snapshot Polls conducted by GL Noble Denton at stand C86 during Gastech. Delegates were also asked whether the European gas industry should be investing more to ensure the highest standards of safety, and if unconventional reserves will become the UK's primary source of gas.

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