Based on recently published data for March 2018
South Korea imported 4.3 Mn T of LNG this March, seeing a growth of 22.5 per cent from 3.51 Mn T in imports in March 2017. Shipments mainly originated from Qatar, Australia and the United States, while three cargoes have been re-exported from Europe; specifically Spain, the Netherlands and France. These cargoes were priced at USD 11.26 per Mn Btu, USD 10.27 per Mn Btu and USD 10.25 per Mn Btu respectively.
Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter, supplies South Korea with a majority of its LNG, at a total volume of 1.24 Mn T. South Korea’s other major suppliers include Australia, with 723 k T, and the US with 532 k T.
Four of Korea’s major import terminals (Incheon, Pyeong-Taek, Samcheok and Tong-Yeong) are operated by state-controlled Korea Gas Corp, while two other terminals are controlled by a utility and an industrial company. The terminal at Boryyeong is operated by GS Energy, and the Kwangyang facility by the steelmaker POSCO.
Other Korean LNG suppliers include Brunei, Indonesia, Oman, Malaysia, Russia, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Angola, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
The first quarter of 2018, considered the peak period for imports of LNG due to the Northern Hemisphere winter, saw South Korea import 12.99 Mn T, as opposed to 11.38 Mn T over the same period last year. This is an impressive increase of 14.14 per cent.
In conjunction, South Korea has been moving further away from coal, one of LNG’s major competitors. Coal imports traditionally include both thermal coal for power generation and coking coal for steel production. Current imports stand at just over 5 per cent, with volumes reaching 11.46 Mn T in March compared to 10.90 Mn T the same time last year.