World converges in Houston to discuss the future of LNG

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Lee Nichols, Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher, Hydrocarbon Processing
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Gastech 2019

Houston hosted tens of thousands of attendees this week at Gastech’s exhibition and conference. From powerhouse operating companies that are leading the construction of gas processing and LNG import and export infrastructure to technology licensors and product/service companies, Gastech showcased the latest advancements in global natural gas market trends and technology—and rightly so. Dozens of nations around the world are investing heavily in new LNG and natural gas infrastructure. These investments include the construction of LNG import and export terminals, processing centers and distribution networks.

Gas will continue to displace coal use for power generation as regions and nations—particularly those that are signatories to the Paris Climate Change Agreement—continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Countries, such as China, are investing heavily to construct LNG import infrastructure to fuel domestic power generation needs. According to BP, China’s natural gas consumption has increased from nearly 82 Bm3y in 2008 to approximately 283 Bm3y in 2018. Within the same timeframe, China’s domestic natural gas production has reached nearly 162 Bm3y. Due to the wide gap between supply and demand, China is dependent on natural gas imports. As the Chinese government is adamant on significantly increasing natural gas as part of the total energy mix to 10% in 2020 and to 15% in 2030, the gap between production and demand will continue to widen. 

According to Gulf Energy Information’s Energy Web Atlas, China has 19 operational LNG receiving terminals, with a total installed capacity of 62 MMtpy. The country is the second-largest LNG importer behind Japan. Since 2015, the nation’s LNG imports have tripled to nearly 55 MMtpy and forecasts show that it could increase to 80 MMtpy by 2025. To prepare for the significant increase in natural gas demand, China is investing heavily to boost LNG import and natural gas storage capacity. At the time of this publication, the Energy Web Atlas was tracking six additional grassroots LNG import terminals under development, which would add more than 12 MMtpy of LNG capacity by the early 2020s. In addition, nearly all operational domestic LNG terminals plan to expand LNG storage capacity.  

Other Asian nations such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are investing in LNG import infrastructure, as well. Billions of dollars are being invested within these companies to help secure natural gas supplies from declining fields and/or limited natural gas production.

On the supply side, Australia and Qatar continue to lead the globe in total LNG export capacity. However, the U.S. is investing heavily in new LNG export capacity—a direct effect of cheap, abundant shale gas. Over the next several years, the U.S. will add more than 71 MMtpy of additional LNG export capacity by the early 2020s. The region will lead in new LNG export capacity growth over the next few years, which is why Houston was an ideal location to host the 2019 Gastech event—at the heart of the U.S. energy industry.

Shale gas is not only fueling an LNG export construction building boom but is providing necessary feedstock to the burgeoning U.S. petrochemical industry. In turn, these new dynamics are changing the advancements in processing technologies—a central theme in Hydrocarbon Processing­—and leading to the development of the fuels of the future, as well as new tools to optimize operations.


Speak at Gastech 2020 and present your strategic and technical insights to drive ideas, overcome challenges, create new business opportunities and highlight innovation. Submit your paper here by 24 January 2020 and be part of the world-renowned gas, LNG and energy conference!