West African LNG Remains Stable Despite COVID-19

While oil demand has faced a sharp drop in recent months, the trend in production and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) paints a different picture, with LNG trading remaining high in spite of a projected 4% decrease in total global gas demand in 2020.

Furthermore, the West African region has demonstrated relative resilience to the external ‘shocks’ produced by COVID-19.

According to a recent analysis from S&P Global Platts Analytics, the top four LNG exporters in the region – Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon – are delivering roughly the same volumes during the same period last year.

In the first five months of the year, Nigeria exported approximately 11 billion cubic meters (Bcm), reflecting only a 4% year-on-year decrease. Despite weaker demand and lower prices, exports continue to flow from the country’s 22 million-tons per year Nigeria LNG plant.

Angola, which represents the region’s second largest LNG exporter that produces from its 5.2 million-capacity Angola LNG plant, exported 2.7 Bcm of gas in the first five months of the year, a 4% year-on-year increase.

In Equatorial Guinea, LNG exports totaled 1.5 Bcm in the first five months of the year, reflecting an 11% decrease due to declining production from the Alba field, the plant’s primary source of gas. As a result, Equatorial Guinea is in the process of feeding gas from Noble Energy’s Alen field to backfill the 3.7 million-tons per year EG LNG facility, with first gas projected by the end of 2020.

In May 2018, Cameroon became West Africa’s fourth largest LNG exporter and exported 0.7 Bcm in the first five months of 2020, a slight increase from 0.6 Bcm in 2019. The country’s production is derived from its floating LNG production unit, Hilli Episeyo, which carries a capacity of 2.4 million tons per year.