Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) demand reached 265 million tonnes (MT) in 2016.
That’s according to Shell’s new LNG outlook, which says this volume is enough to supply power to around 500 million homes a year.
The report says many forecasts for 2016 expected strong increases in new LNG supplies to outpace demand growth.
Instead, demand kept pace with supply as a rising need for the fuel in Asia and the Middle East absorbed the increase in supply from Australia.
China and India were two of the fastest growing buyers, boosting their LNG imports to 27MT and to 20MT respectively.
Total global LNG demand increased following the addition of six new importing countries since 2015 (Colombia, Egypt, Jamaica, Jordan, Pakistan and Poland), bringing the number of LNG importers up from around 10 at the start of the century to 35.
The report shows despite flexibility in developing new demand, there has actually been a decrease in final investment decisions for new supply.
Shell believes this will need to change if growing demand in the future is to be met, most of which is set to come from Asia in the years following 2020.
Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas and New Energies Director at Shell, said: “Global LNG trade demonstrated its flexibility time and again in 2016, responding to shortfalls in national and regional gas supply and to new emerging demand.
“The outlook for LNG demand is set to grow at twice the rate of gas demand, at 4% to 5% a year between 2015 and 2030.”
Predictions elsewhere suggest LNG oversupply will last into the mid-2020s.