Jan 07, 2022 05:37 AM

China Overtakes Japan as Top LNG Importer

What’s new: China overtook Japan for the first time to become the world’s largest buyer of liquified natural gas (LNG), according to a report by energy industry consultancy IHS Markit.

China imported 81.4 million tons of LNG in 2021, up 17.8% from a year earlier. Japan’s imports rose 0.2% to 75 million tons. Japan lost its crown as largest LNG importer for the first time since early 1970s, according to the report. South Korea ranked third with 46.4 million tons.

Australia was the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2021, selling 83 million tons of the clean energy. But the United States is likely to jump to the top place in 2022, surpassing Qatar and Australia, according to IHS Markit.

The context: The global LNG market has been expanding rapidly since 2021 as a new landscape takes shape, said Michael Stoppard, chief strategist for global gas at IHS Markit.

LNG prices surged to record highs over the past year. Spot prices in Asia hovered around a record $40 per million BTU in December. Global production also increased with loaded LNG supply reaching 396 million tons, up 5.5%.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Han Wei ( and editor Bob Simison (

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