Global gas demand is expected to fall by 3% or 120 billion cubic metres (bcm) – its largest drop on record. Amid this slowdown, LNG continues to play a central role in balancing global gas markets, ensuring flexibility and security of supply. Faced with a historic fall in global gas demand in the first half of the year, gas producers and exporters have had to provide flexibility to adjust supply. LNG was one of the key enablers of this adjustment, with monthly global exports decreasing by 17% between January and July.
In this extraordinary context, LNG contracting activity has collapsed from its high of 95 bcm in 2018 to about 35 bcm in the first nine months of 2020. Meanwhile, the structure of LNG supply is set to be reshaped, since about one-third of active contracts are due to expire between 2020 and 2025, while export capacity is set to expand by 20%. These trends create an unprecedented challenge and opportunity for market participants.
This report offers a detailed analysis of recent LNG contracting developments and assesses the role of flexibility in gas supply adjustment during the Covid-19 crisis. It also provides updates on the latest developments in global gas markets and on the near-term outlook.