HOUSTON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) continued to expand in 2017, and Australia and the United States were among the countries with the largest increases, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Monday.
EIA quoted the Annual Report on LNG trade by the International Association of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL) as reporting that the global trade in LNG reached 38.2 billion cubic feet (about 1.1 billion cubic meters) per day in 2017, a 10 percent increase from 2016 and the largest annual volume increase on record.
In 2017, there were 19 LNG exporting countries and 40 LNG importing countries. Besides Australia and the United States, several other countries also increased LNG exports in 2017.
Asian countries led the growth in global LNG imports, accounting for 74 percent of the increase in 2017.
Japan remained the largest LNG importer in 2017. China had the largest growth in LNG imports globally and became the world's second-largest LNG importer in 2017, surpassing South Korea. LNG imports also increased in South Korea.
Europe increased its LNG imports, primarily in Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, and Turkey.
LNG imports in South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia) remained essentially unchanged from 2016. In North America, Mexico's LNG imports increased by 17 percent as the country continued to rely on LNG supplies amid declining domestic production and construction delays in infrastructure connecting the Mexican domestic grid to natural gas pipeline exports from the United States.
LNG imports into the Middle East declined by 9 percent, primarily to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Growth in LNG trade was driven in part by new liquefaction capacity commissioned in Australia, the United States, and Russia. The world's first floating liquefaction plant, Malaysia's PFLNG Satu, was also commissioned in 2017.