India’s imports of LNG rose by 11 per cent in 2020 on the back of lower prices, according to Shell’s annual LNG Outlook published on Thursday.

As the pandemic drove down international prices of the fuel and domestic LNG production fell, India ramped up its imports of the fuel. India imported 26.65 million tonnes of LNG in 2020, compared to 23.9 million tonnes in the previous year.

“China and India led the recovery in demand for LNG following the outbreak of the pandemic,” Shell said in a statement. China increased its LNG imports by 11 per cent to 67 million tonnes for the year.

In February last year, when China went into lockdown, Korea and India absorbed the supply as Chinese cargoes were diverted to these countries, the outlook says. Similarly, when India and the rest of South Asia went in lockdown, Europe absorbed more LNG due to favourable coal-to-gas switching economics. Chinese demand also began to recover.

Global demand

Overall, global LNG demand is estimated to hit 700 million tonnes by 2040, the outlook says.

“Asia is expected to drive nearly 75 per cent of this growth as domestic gas production declines and LNG substitutes higher emission energy sources, tackling air quality concerns and meeting emissions targets,” the statement said.