This week saw the latest exchange of tariffs between Washington and Beijing, and this time there is a likely to be a tangible negative impact on the U.S. LNG industry.
Following President Trump’s approval of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, China retaliated with its own list containing goods worth US$60 billion. The list included LNG, which will be subject to a 10% import tariff.
Now, while some in the industry breathed a sigh of relief that the tariff rate is much lower than the initially threatened 25%, the news is not exactly good. The U.S. is certainly one of the focal points of the LNG industry right now, but it’s worth noting that it is not the only such focal point.
Qatar is expanding its production capacity, for one thing. For another, one more megaproject in Australia started operation earlier this year—Inpex’s Ichthys—and another, Shell’s Prelude FLNG, is scheduled to launch before the year’s end. Meanwhile in Russia, Novatek is gearing up for the start of construction of its second LNG facility in the North.
U.S. LNG producers have a lot of planned capacity but building it requires money, most of which is secured via long-term LNG purchase commitments. Unsurprisingly, Chinese LNG buyers are among the top picks for such projects given projections that China will be the biggest driver behind LNG demand in Asia and globally in the coming years. From this perspective, the worsening bilateral…