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Which countries are the world's leading exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG)?



Quels sont les principaux pays exportateurs de gaz naturel liquéfié (GNL) à l'échelle mondiale ?

In 2023, the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market was marked by fierce competition between the major producers. Of the 20 LNG exporting countries, ten are in Africa and the Middle East. Transporting gas in liquefied form, at a temperature of around -161°C, reduces its volume by a factor of around 600, making it easier to transport over long distances.

United States: World's leading exporter

The USA dominated the LNG market in 2023, becoming the world's leading exporter, a position it had only held in third place in 2022. With 21.1% of global exports, or 84.5 million tonnes, it overtook Australia and Qatar, which had successively held this position.

The American Ascension

The rise of the United States in the LNG market has been meteoric. Since 2018, several liquefaction facilities have opened (Cameron, Corpus Christi, Cove Point, Elba Island, Freeport), enabling them to export a significant proportion of their shale gas production in liquefied form. The first delivery of American LNG to the European Union took place in April 2016 in Portugal. The conflict in Ukraine has also accelerated this trend, with European imports of US LNG set to increase by 153% in 2022 compared with 2021.

Top 5 LNG exporters

In 2023, five countries accounted for three quarters of global LNG volumes. The United States, Australia and Qatar alone accounted for 60.4% of global exports.

1. United States: 21.1% (84.5 Mt)
2. Australia: 19.8% (79.6 Mt)
3. Qatar : 19,5 % (78,2 Mt)
4. Russia : 7.8 % (31.4 Mt)
5. Malaisia : 6.7% (26.8 Mt)


Other significant contributors

Other notable contributors include Indonesia (3.9%, 15.6 Mt), Nigeria (3.2%, 13.0 Mt), Algeria (3.2%, 13.0 Mt), and Oman (2.8%, 11.4 Mt). Although less dominant, these countries play a crucial role in global LNG supply.

Essential shipping

All LNG-exporting countries have a coastline, which is essential for transporting LNG by tanker. This makes it possible to partially overcome geographical and geopolitical constraints. For example, Trinidad and Tobago, the world's 11th largest LNG exporter, has no pipelines linking it to its neighbors, and relies entirely on sea transport for its exports.

Global LNG demand

Global LNG demand in 2023 was dominated by Asia, which accounted for almost 65% of imports. The main importing countries were China (17.6%), Japan (16.5%) and South Korea (11.3%). In Europe, which accounted for around 30.2% of global imports, France and Spain were the main importers.

The LNG market continues to transform, with countries such as the United States increasing their production and global influence. Asia remains the main consumer, while Europe is increasing its imports, particularly in response to geopolitical crises. With expanding infrastructures and growing demand, LNG has become a key element in global energy strategy.