Japan, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas importer, bought the largest share of Nigeria’s LNG exports last year, data from the World Oil and Gas Review 2014 has shown.

Between the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and May 2012, Japan shifted heavily towards LNG as it shut down all of its nuclear reactors. Nuclear generation in Japan represented about 26 per cent of the power generation prior to the 2011 earthquake, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

The Asian country, which now relies on LNG imports for virtually all of its natural gas demand, imported 5.4 billion cubic metres from Nigeria in 2013, while South Korea bought the second largest volume of 3.54 billion centimetres, according to the report, which was released this week.

Spain imported 3.27 billion centimetres, and other importers of Nigerian LNG cargoes last year included Portugal (1.75 billion), Turkey (1.27 billion), Brazil (1.17 billion), Mexico (1.17 billion), France (1.07 billion), India (1.04 billion), Taiwan (0.62 billion), China (0.57 billion), Argentina (0.55 billion), Thailand (0.32 billion), Kuwait (0.23 billion), Netherlands (0.09 billion), Israel (0.08 billion) and the United States (0.07 billion).

The Nigeria LNG Limited said it currently manages 16 long-term LNG sales purchase agreements executed with 11 buyers on a delivered ex-ship basis. The long-term buyers take delivery of their volumes in receiving facilities spread across the Atlantic Basin in countries such as Spain, France, Portugal and Italy in Europe, Turkey, Mexico and the US.

“In addition to our traditional deliveries to Europe and the US, NLNG also supplies LNG to South America, with deliveries to Mexico and Brazil; and to Asia and the Middle East, with deliveries to Japan, South Korea, India, China, Taiwan, Thailand and Kuwait,” said NLNG in its ‘Facts and Figures on NLNG 2014’.

“Going forward, gas trade flows will become more Asia-focused. Between now and 2030, more than half of additional demand coming from Asia and Middle East,” the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Total E&P Nigeria, Elizabeth Proust, had said of the global gas trade.

She further said that one-third of new supply would come from North America, adding that the increasing new supply of LNG, shale oil and gas, was intensifying global competition for access to demand markets for oil and gas.

With the entry of the US into the LNG market, buyers now have more choice. Already, major Asian energy consumers have signed deals with yet-to-be-built export terminals in the US. The US Department of Energy has received 43 applications for 38.97 billion cubic feet per day of capacity and 87.54 million tonnes per annum (11.6 Bcfd) of Memorandum of Understandings have been signed, according to energy market analytics company, Bentek Energy.