China redraws seaborne LNG map, looks to America for supplies

China has redrawn the map of global seaborne LNG trades this year, dismissing trade tiffs with America, to dramatically boost the overall tonne-mile scenario for LNG carriers, which have hit record spot earnings in excess of $300,000 per day over the past month.

The United States is now China’s second largest LNG supplier, having surpassed the likes of Qatar, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“China appears to be have been shoring up its energy requirements, signing up nearly a dozen long-term LNG contracts this year, with half of those being done in the fourth quarter. Although Australia looks set to be the biggest supplier of LNG to China this year, the US is moving up the ranks to take second position, according to S&P Global Platts,” stated a new report from brokers Lorentzen & Stemoco today.

Australia sent 25.9m tonnes of LNG to China in the first 10 months of this year, considerably more than any other gas exporter. However, Australia’s share of total imports dropped to 39.7% from 43% in 2020. In the first 10 months of this year, American LNG exports accounted for for 11% of China’s total imports, up from 3% in the previous year.

China’s Foran Energy signed a 20-year LNG supply contract last week with Cheniere to purchase four LNG cargoes a year from 2023 to 2042. The contract was the fourth big gas deal signed between the two nations in the last few months.

Earlier this year, China surpassed Japan to become the world’s largest importer of LNG, adding to a long list of commodities in which the People’s Republic is the number one buyer.

Clarksons has estimated that China’s greater reliance on non-Asian providers of LNG this year has helped up tonne-mile demand by a massive 30% in 2021.