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MENA countries supply approximately one-third of global LNG

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Nearly one-third (29%) of global LNG exports in 2022 were supplied by exporting countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to data from the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL). The MENA region's share of global LNG exports declined from 47% in 2013 to about 30% by 2020, as LNG exports from Australia and the US have grown.

Qatar is the top LNG exporter in the MENA region, accounting for 70% of regional LNG exports in 2022. Globally, Qatar is one of the top three LNG exporters, with exports averaging 10.3 billion ft3/d during the last 10 years. Oman and the UAE are the second- and third-largest LNG exporters in the Middle East. Oman started exporting LNG in 2000, and exports have consistently averaged 1.2 billion ft3/d over the last decade. LNG exports from the UAE (specifically from the emirate of Abu Dhabi) started in 1977 and averaged 0.7 billion ft3/d over the last decade. LNG exports from Yemen started in 2010 and averaged 0.8 billion ft3/d from 2011 to 2014, but they have been suspended since May 2015 following a military conflict.

In North Africa, two countries export LNG — Algeria and Egypt. Algeria was one of the world’s first LNG exporters and has over 40 years of LNG export history. Algeria’s LNG exports have remained stable over the last 10 years, ranging from 1.3 billion ft3/d to 1.7 billion ft3/d. Despite considerable domestic natural gas reserves, Algeria’s ability to increase LNG exports in the near term is limited due to insufficient investment to maintain and expand natural gas production from ageing fields and growing domestic demand.

Egypt exported 0.9 billion ft3/d in both 2021 and 2022. LNG exports from Egypt depend on domestic demand and the volume of available natural gas for export. In recent years, domestic natural gas consumption in Egypt has increased while production declined, which contributed to Egypt temporarily suspending its LNG exports in 2015. Egypt has been importing natural gas from Israel via the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) pipeline (up to 0.7 billion ft3/d) and the Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP) (up to 0.2 billion ft3/d). At the start of the Israeli-Hamas conflict beginning in October, Israel suspended exports to Egypt via the EMG pipeline because of production stoppages at the offshore Tamar field, which supplies the EMG pipeline (Tamar field production has since been restarted).

Egypt’s LNG exports peak in winter months when domestic demand is low, and Egypt can export surplus natural gas (including imports from Israel) as LNG. During last winter (November 2022 through March 2023) Egypt’s LNG exports averaged 2.0 billion ft3/d, according to data from CEDIGAZ.

Most of the MENA region's LNG exports are shipped to South Asia and East Asia, which accounted for 65% (9.7 billion ft3/d) of the region’s LNG exports in 2022. The share of the MENA region's LNG exports going to South Asia and East Asia has remained fairly consistent over the past 10 years, varying between 60% and 70% of the total. The MENA region's LNG exports to Europe, which fluctuate depending on European natural gas demand, have ranged from 3.5 billion ft3/d to 4.8 billion ft3/d during the past 10 years. In 2022, MENA’s exports to Europe averaged 4.5 billion ft3/d, 30% of the MENA region's total LNG exports. Up to 4% of exports from the MENA region are supplied to other MENA region countries—Kuwait and the UAE (specifically the emirate of Dubai).

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