Demand for LNG in the Asia Pacific region is forecast to grow by 7.8 Bcf/d from 2010 to average 25.4 Bcf/d in 2015, with the region remaining the heart of the LNG business, US-based energy analyst Bentek said in a report released Thursday.
Bentek added that demand growth would be driven largely by China and India, with additional requirements from the recovering economies of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as emerging markets in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.
"China and India are markets with immense demand potential that are hindered by infrastructure constraints that will only be partially addressed by 2015," the report said, with both countries registering a combined demand of 8.1 Bcf/d by 2015.
Domestic gas production increases in India and China only posed a "small risk" to LNG imports, and Bentek added that while it expected both countriesto increase domestic production of unconventional gas, this would not be enough to displace significant volumes of LNG imports.
China's commitment to increase the use of gas in its energy mix will prove the major driver behind its demand growth over the next five years. With 4 Bcf/d of new import capacity slated to come online from 2010-2015 and numerous long-term contracts slated to start deliveries, domestic gas price hikes mandated by the country's leading economic agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, would help to support increasing LNG imports.
"Japan will remain the world's largest importer over 2010-2015," Bentek said, adding: "Japanese demand will remain effectively flat through 2015, given limited economic growth and shifts to nuclear and less costly fuels."
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