LNG industry worldwide - Statistics & Facts

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to around minus 162 degrees Celsius in order to ease transportation to consumer markets. When extracted, natural gas contains a mixture of methane, ethane, propane, and butane. The latter two are usually separated and stored at low pressure before being sold as liquified petroleum gas (LPG). LNG on the other hand is predominantly made up of methane and ethane. Treatment includes removing acid gases and components which would impair the liquifying process. Most LNG plants are located close to the sea for export trading via shipping vessels. The liquid is then regasified once it reaches its destination before entering pipeline distribution systems for end-user delivery.

Advancements in hydraulic fracturing processes have made the United States the largest producer of natural gas in the world. 2016 was the first year that United States-sourced LNG was sold to consumers overseas. The company responsible, Cheniere Energy, has seen an incredible surge in sales volume since, with nearly 1,500 trillion British thermal units loaded in 2019. Together with two other U.S.-based oil supermajors, Cheniere Energy is among the leading publicly traded LNG suppliers worldwide. Although the market is still largely dominated by state-owned companies such as Qatargas, the world’s largest producer of LNG.

Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), economic implications for many industries are still unclear. This also leaves the future of terminal projects uncertain. One of the most expensive LNG projects in the planning stages is the three-train liquefaction plant in Nikiski, Alaska, with expected costs around 43 billion U.S. dollars.

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Global LNG industry

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