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LNG at a Crossroads

Source: Shell.
Gemmata LNG tanker.

For an industry that is just over 50 years old, liquefied natural gas (LNG) has matured rapidly and is playing an ever-growing role in the global energy system. From the start of international trade in the 1960s, demand reached 50 MTPA in 1990, then 100 MTPA in 2000, and 240 MTPA in 2012, according to the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG).

LNG has become the world’s fastest-growing gas supply source and is now part of an upheaval in the global energy market. Trade has quadrupled over the past two decades and is set to double over the next two. Consumption and share growth have set new records for three consecutive years. New markets for both demand and supply are developing rapidly. Liquefaction facilities and vessel fleets are expanding. Innovative and collaborative trade models are emerging. And, new technologies are being pursued to enhance LNG’s flexibility and competitiveness with other primary energy forms (Fig. 1).

LNG is not without risks. These range from project economics, fuel competition, and politics on a local, national, and global scale to partner priorities, marketing, and contractual arrangements. Given the growing world population, the rising demand for more energy, and the need to mitigate climate change, the consensus is that the long-term outlook is bullish. But, says industry technical advisor DNV GL, the sector stands at a crossroads, and the industry must adopt new thinking to address current and future needs of buyers, sellers, and consumers both globally and regionally.

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LNG at a Crossroads

Judy Feder, Technology Editor

01 July 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 7

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