New attempts to create multi-billion dollar LNG plants are increasing following a long pause in investments. This may be justified by the fact that energy giants expect a widening supply gap within five years.
The demand for LNG had decreased after many LNG plants led to a supply oversaturation. However, this situation gradually changes. Triggered by increasing oil prices and strong demand from growing economies such as China and India, companies sense that the conditions are ideal for new projects.
Namely, Qatar is about to expand its facilities by about a third to produce 100-108 million tonnes per year (mtpa) by 2023-2024. In addition, a major change in the outlook took place after China strongly promoted imports of LNG in recent years to reduce coal burn in its fight against pollution.
More specifically, the LNG market will need more than 200 million tonnes per year of new supply until 2030, or about 25-30 mtpa per year in new capacity additions to 2025, according to Reuters. US will be the main source of growth, as there supplies increased rapidly and prices decreased with the expansion of shale drilling.
However, liquefaction capacity additions will probably fall towards the end of 2019, because newly commissioned plants will reach their maximum capacity.
As for the new projects, in 2017 Exxon bought for $2.8 billion a 25% stake in Eni’s Rovuma development in Mozambique, which holds a massive estimated resource of 85 trillion cubic feet. The partners in the project, Exxon, Korea Gas Corp and China National Petroleum Corporation, will decided next year for the financial investment so it could be operational by 2023-2024. The project will provide 15 million tonnes of LNG per year, or 5% of global output.
Moreover, Shell which acquired BG Group in 2016 for $54 billion to increase its gas output, is close to decide on what to do with the development of LNG Canada. This would be the company’s first new LNG project since 2011.
In addition, BP and its partner Kosmos Energy will decide on the construction of the Tortue field off the coast of Senegal and Mauritania by next year.
All of these projects come at a time when global demand for LNG increased by 12% in 2017, surpassing the forecasts, and is expected to further grow by up to 10% in 2018.