Oil & Gas News

Global LNG Trade Surges 3.1% in 2023

Gas, LNG, Trade, 2023

The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market witnessed a significant surge in trade, growing by 3.1% in 2023 to an average of 52.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). This increase, amounting to 1.6 Bcf/d from the previous year, highlights the robust expansion in both export and import capacities alongside rising global demand for natural gas. These findings were reported by the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL).

Expansion of LNG Export Capacities

The growth in trade can be attributed to the substantial expansion of export capacities in several key regions. The United States, Mozambique, Russia, Indonesia, Norway, and Oman were at the forefront of this expansion. Notably, the United States played a pivotal role, with Freeport LNG resuming operations in February 2023 after a hiatus since June 2022, reaching full production capacity by April. This development significantly contributed to the country’s ascendancy as the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2023, marking a 12% increase in exports compared to 2022.

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Mozambique and Russia also made significant strides with new projects commissioned in 2022 reaching full production in 2023. Mozambique’s Coral South Floating LNG, with a capacity of 0.4 Bcf/d, and Russia’s Portovaya LNG, with 0.2 Bcf/d, were instrumental in boosting their export figures. Indonesia’s Tangguh LNG facility added a third train, further enhancing its export capacity. Norway and Oman, on the other hand, focused on optimizing the operational efficiency of their existing plants to increase production.

Leading Exporters

In 2023, the United States, Australia, and Qatar solidified their positions as the top three exporters globally, collectively accounting for 60% of total LNG exports. The United States’ surge to the top was complemented by increases in exports from Australia and Qatar. Algeria also contributed to the global export increase, adding 0.4 Bcf/d thanks to additional natural gas feedstock from newly commissioned production fields. Norway and Indonesia’s optimization and capacity expansions also played a crucial role in the overall increase in LNG exports.

LNG, Trade

Rising LNG Import Capacities

On the import side, Europe and Asia were the primary regions expanding their LNG capacities. Europe saw the introduction of several new Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs) and expansions at existing terminals, boosting the region’s import capabilities. Asia, particularly China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, added new capacities to meet their growing energy demands.

Asia continued to lead global import growth, recording a 3.5% increase (1.2 Bcf/d) in 2023. China, for the second consecutive year since 2021, emerged as the world’s largest LNG importer with a 12% increase (1.0 Bcf/d) in imports, driven by new regasification terminals and declining LNG prices. India followed suit with an 11% increase (0.3 Bcf/d) in imports due to similar factors. Lower LNG prices also led to increased imports in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Singapore, by 0.4 Bcf/d, 0.1 Bcf/d, and 0.1 Bcf/d respectively.

European Imports

Europe experienced a modest 1.4% increase (0.2 Bcf/d) in LNG imports in 2023. Germany, the newest entrant into the LNG importing market, saw an average import of 0.7 Bcf/d. Other European countries like the Netherlands, Italy, and Finland, which expanded their regasification capacities, also recorded increased imports. However, the United Kingdom, France, and Spain witnessed a combined decline of 1.3 Bcf/d in LNG imports, primarily due to reduced natural gas demand.

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Imports in Latin America

In Latin America, Colombia led the increase in imports by 0.1 Bcf/d. The country faced drought conditions and resorted to LNG for natural gas-fired power plants to compensate for reduced hydropower generation. Conversely, Brazil saw a decline of 0.2 Bcf/d in LNG imports as favorable hydropower conditions reduced the need for natural gas-fired electricity generation. Puerto Rico also recorded a 0.1 Bcf/d increase in LNG imports.


The global LNG market’s growth in 2023 underscores the dynamic nature of the energy sector, driven by strategic expansions in export and import capacities and fluctuating energy demands across regions. The United States’ emergence as the largest LNG exporter, coupled with China’s leading position in imports, highlights the shifting dynamics in global energy trade. As countries continue to optimize and expand their infrastructures, the global LNG market is poised for sustained growth, reflecting the increasing importance of natural gas in the global energy mix.

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