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June 19, 2020

West African LNG exports hold steady amidst Covid-19 pandemic

By JP Casey

Liquified natural gas (LNG) exports from Angola, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria have not been significantly disrupted by the spread of Covid-19, according to analysis from S&P Global Platts.

The resilience of the West African LNG exporters is a welcome surprise for an industry that has seen significant disruption due to the pandemic. S&P figures show that Nigerian exports were down just 4% in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period in 2019, while supplies from Angola and Cameroon had actually increased year-on-year.

While the countries have faced a number of challenges to maintain this production, including disruption to shipping lanes that have caused cargo to take longer to reach its destination, much of these countries’ LNG production is driven by domestic sources, which have been relatively untroubled by the pandemic.

“With supply to the Nigeria LNG facility being associated gas, LNG exports are to a degree driven by domestic oil production, which Platts Analytics estimates fell by around 5% over the first five months of the year,” Platts Analytics LNG analyst Luke Cottell said.

“This meant we saw little change in LNG exports year on year, although a record volume of Nigerian LNG on the water in late May was indicative of the difficulties such cargoes faced in finding a home amid record low prices in both Asia and Europe.”

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