Asia is boosting consumption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) relative to oil as nations from China to India try to pollute less while driving economic growth.
The demand for LNG in China and India is growing as much as nine times faster than that for crude, according to calculations based on data compiled from Facts Global Energy, BP Plc and the International Energy Agency. Oil use is shrinking in Japan and stagnant in South Korea. LNG use will rise 45 percent in China and 12 percent in India in 2011 from this year, said Facts, an energy consultant.
"This strong demand growth will not purely be driven by gross domestic product," Gavin Thompson, China gas study director for Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd, said in an e-mail from Edinburgh. "The gas demand story is about displacing oil products, not coal, in the industrial and residential sectors." The energy consultant this week raised by 48 percent its forecast for China's LNG demand in 2020.
Asian LNG imports may grow 8 percent this year after declining 3 percent in 2009 as the world's worst financial crisis since World War II crimped consumption, Facts said in a report last week. Chevron Corp, BG Group Plc and Woodside Petroleum Ltd are among the companies developing LNG projects in Australia, both from conventional offshore fields and from coal-seam gas.
"In India, incremental gas demand is expected to outstrip increased domestic gas supplies," Facts analysts Sook Ching Wong and Shahriar Fesharaki said in the report. "This will ensure the increased reliance of LNG to meet India's needs."
The International Monetary Fund expects China's economy, the world's third biggest, to grow 10.5 percent this year and 9.6 percent in 2011. India's GDP may expand 9.4 percent in 2010 and 8.4 percent next year, according to the fund.