Editorial Comment

Adrienne Blume, Managing Editor

Global gas is facing a demand hit from the coronavirus pandemic and a structural oversupply in the LNG market following the startups of new LNG export projects in Australia and the U.S. At present, 2020 is looking to be a rough year for LNG projects seeking FIDs, particularly those projects with final decisions delayed from 2019—which was itself a record year for LNG FIDs. However, strategists have warned that balking at too many prospective LNG projects will undermine supply/demand fundamentals in the next decade. The crisis surrounding the pandemic could serve as more of a balancing mechanism for LNG supply rather than a bottleneck—over the medium-term, at least. After the 2020s, however, more LNG will be required to meet continued growth in Asia’s burgeoning economies.

Worldwide, 19 large-scale LNG projects had been looking to secure FID in 2020, but nearly all of them have pushed their decisions to 2021 or later. Collectively, these 19 projects would add more than 200 MMtpy of new LNG supply between 2024 and 2027. Around one-third of these projects are located in the U.S. If the economic fallout from the pandemic-fueled collapse in oil prices delays FIDs for most of the undecided U.S. projects, it could mean far less LNG traveling from the U.S. to Asia in the second half of the decade. On top of depressed oil prices, failure by exporters to secure supply agreements with key Asian buyers, such as China and India, may challenge several of the tentative U.S. projects. Other delayed LNG projects could be effectively canceled unless they reach positive FID by mid-2021 amid improving economic conditions. GP


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