LNG Market Outlook Featured Article

LNG to Play Larger Role in Southeast Asia

This current feature was extracted from the latest edition of Poten’s LNG Market Outlook, a monthly service published on May 25, 2023.

Southeast Asian LNG imports are forecast to grow at a rate of 17% per year out to 2024 as population and economic growth continue to push natural gas demand higher. The power and industrial sectors account for roughly 70% of natural gas consumption in the region and are the key drivers of demand. Production declines due to reserve depletion and a lack of upstream investment will also play a critical role in LNG import growth in the future.

Southeast Asia LNG Import Forecast

LNG imports grew from 16.5 MMt in 2021 to 20.2 MMt in 2022 as demand for LNG ramped up in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Through April 2022, LNG imports were up 27% compared to the same time frame last year as lower prices relative to recent history have triggered an increase in natural gas consumption. For 2023 and 2024, LNG imports are forecast at 23.7 MMt and 27.6 MMt, respectively.

Southeast Asia Demand Forecast

Currently, Southeast Asia is experiencing a heat wave, with record high temperatures which are forecast to increase natural gas demand over the next few months. Demand is forecast to increase to 38.7 Bcm in 2Q 2023 compared with 36.3 Bcm in 1Q 2023 and 37.8 Bcm in 2Q 2022.

Higher demand is forecast to increase LNG imports by roughly 500,000 t in 2Q 2023 over 1Q to nearly 6 MMt and average 2 MMt/m. LNG is expected to meet roughly 15% of total demand in 2Q 2023 but will increase to 16% by 3Q 2023 due to some declines in production and pipeline imports.

Pipeline imports for Thailand and Singapore declined by 7% to 16.8 Bcm in 2022 and are expected to decline by another 8% in 2023 to 15.4 MMt. Thailand’s ability to secure pipeline gas from Myanmar has been constrained by political upheaval in Myanmar. The political climate in Myanmar is currently unfavorable for resolving pipeline issues and investment in the upstream sector.

Singapore relies on Indonesia and Malaysia for pipeline gas. Pipeline exports for Indonesia are forecast to decline in the near term to maintain LNG export growth and meet domestic demand as production growth will likely be minimal. There are similar dynamics regarding pipeline exports from Malaysia.

Southeast Asia Pipeline Import Forecast


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