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United States Poised to be World's Largest LNG Exporter in 2022 as China Becomes Top LNG Importer


WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 6, 2022 ( Newswire) The world's two largest economies-the United States and Mainland China-are poised to be the world's top export and import markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2022, says a new report by IHS Markit, (NYSE: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.

The report, entitled LNG Trade in 2021: Runaway Recovery finds that the United States, which was the third-largest LNG exporter behind Australia and Qatar for the full year of 2021, is poised to claim the top spot in 2022. The United States was the largest source of LNG supply growth in 2021, adding 25 million metric tons (MMt) amid continued buildup of liquefaction capacity as well as the ramping up of output from plants turned down the previous year. Average utilization for U.S. plants climbed from 43% in third quarter 2020 to 98% in third quarter 2021.

Meanwhile, Mainland China has already become the top global importer of LNG. Imports reached 81 MMt in 2021 (increase of 12.3 MMt or 18%), overtaking Japan where imports were flat year-over-year at 75 MMt. This marks the first time since the early 1970s that Japan has not been the world's largest LNG importer.

"A new map of LNG is taking shape as 2021 became the year of rapid recovery, making the oversupply and price lows of 2020 seem like a distant memory," said Michael Stoppard, chief strategist, global gas, IHS Markit. "It is a tale of two markets with China fueling the demand surge as the world's top importer and the United States, poised to become the world's leading exporter, providing the supply push."

Among other key LNG trends observed in the report:

Additional Reference: IHS Markit's headline 2021 LNG trade numbers

Total loaded LNG supply in 2021 reached 396.3 MMt, up 5.5% or 20.5 MMt relative to 2020. The largest LNG supplier in 2021 was Australia at 83.0 MMt (1% increase or 0.6 MMt), followed by Qatar at 81.3 MMt (2.0% increase or 1.6 MMt). The United States provided the largest supply growth with 25.3 MMt of additional LNG (52% increase), reaching 73.6 MMt.

Net delivered LNG trade* reached 381.9 MMt, up 5.8% or 21.0 MMt from prior year. The largest growth came from mainland China, propelling it to become the world's largest LNG importer with 81.4 MMt (17.8% increase or 12.3 MMt). Japan fell to second place at 75.0 MMt (0.2% increase or 0.2 MMt), followed by South Korea at 46.4 MMt (13.6% increase or 5.6 MMt). The third largest growth in 2021 came from Brazil, which climbed by 5.1 MMt (210% increase) to reach 7.5 MMt.

For more information about the report LNG Trade in 2021: Runaway Recovery or about IHS Markit LNG research services visit

About IHS Markit (

IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world's leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth.

IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2022 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.

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