What’s in store for LNG and Europe in 2024

The story of liquified natural gas (LNG) – natural gas cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurised storage or transport – is getting interesting as it increases its share in the global primary energy mix.


The LNG markets are expected to stay volatile during 2024 because of the highly charged geopolitical environment. However, even if the geopolitical tensions were to ease, the outlook for LNG remains bearish as can be seen by the fact that gas prices have started to fall in Europe. 

Demand & Supply of LNG – Global 2024

With an unprecedented investment in LNG, consumers can breathe a sigh of relief as prices may remain subdued due to the increasing supply. According to Neil Beveridge, managing director at Sanford C Bernstein & Co, about 140 million metric tons (amounting to 30% of the present global LNG market) will be added to the supply over the next three years. Many projects in North America and Qatar are also expected to come online. 

Additionally, according to Bloomberg NEF, more than 300 million tons on new LNG capacity will be added by 2030 – a whopping 70% surge from today. 

“This begins the third big wave in LNG,” said Anne-Sophie Corbeau, a global research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Morgan Stanley sees an oversupplied market with the surplus standing at 4 million metric tons.

In terms of LNG demand, Asia is expected to lead the way. This isn’t surprising especially when we consider the fact that as, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Asia is going to contribute more than 40% to global growth in 2024. 

As far as Europe is concerned, so far the there seems to be no imbalances. 

European economic outlook is still replete with headwinds in the form of higher-for-longer interest rates, sticky inflation and political issues. The weather can change the scenario, however, and, for the most part of this winter, it has remain subdued. 

The industrial slowdown in the eurozone will continue to put downward pressure on the demand side and robust levels of stockpiles will help in case of an unexpected spike in usage. This means that consumers might be looking at a mixture of conflicting signals as economic indicators continue to go downside. However, they may get some break in terms of energy prices. Any further escalation in geopolitical tensions could, of course, result into a spike in oil and gas prices.

Price expectation

According to Gas 2023 Medium Term Market Report, the gas demand across the world will grow on average around 1.6% between 2022 to 2026 per year. This is down from the previous five-year average of 2.5% a year between 2017- 2021. 

According to various estimates, gas demand in Asia, North America and Europe peaked around 2021 and is forecasted to reduce by 1% per year until 2026. In the case of Europe, this decline can also be attributed to the fact that after joining the REPowerEU Plan, the deployment of renewable sources has increased considerably.

Therefore, in terms of price estimates, we might not see a bullish market. Apart from the structural trends mentioned above, the global economic backdrop is not very conducive to a bullish LNG market scenario. 

According to Morgan Stanley, the price outlook for 2024 has already been reduced to €10.10/MM British Thermal Unit ($11/MMBtu) from €12.85/MMBtu ($14/MMBtu). In terms of spot prices, the bank estimates it to average €10.37MMBtu ($11.3MMBtu) vs €12.94/MMBtu ($14.1/MMBtu).

Headwinds Remain

The global energy market in general and gas markets in particular have changed fundamentally because of the war between Russia and Ukraine. It has led Europe – due to its dependence on gas from Russia – to diversify both in terms of suppliers and energy mix. However, until or unless the open geopolitical fronts resolve or de-escalate, a sudden spike in LNG prices can always be expected. 

It is in Europe’s interest to keep its inventories high and refill them as per schedule (which thankfully is happening).

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *