Role of LNG in the North Asian energy transition: lagging renewables means more LNG for longer?

EnergyQuest Chairman Dr Graeme Bethune is also a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. The OIES has recently published a report by Graeme on the outlook  for LNG in the North Asian energy transition. The report reviews progress with the energy transition in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, countries which were the world’s largest, third largest and fifth largest LNG importers respectively in 2022.

The three countries are all struggling to meet their emissions reduction targets as they work to decarbonize their energy systems. Failures to grow renewables in the power sector fast enough to meet end-of-decade emission targets mean that there will inevitably be recourse to LNG and even coal imports at higher volumes for longer. While all three countries are publicly committed to decarbonization, they are characterized by varied political approaches and energy circumstances. But important commonalities exist amongst the three. In terms of renewables, the most obvious is that while some growth is evident in solar power, wind power growth has lagged behind targets badly. Nuclear restarts in Japan remain a vexed political topic and are therefore uncertain while, on the other hand, Korea’s plans to sustain recent strong growth look reasonable given new nuclear plants under construction. Taiwan’s commitment to winding down nuclear by next year means more LNG as its growth in renewables falls short. All other things being equal we expect LNG is likely to maintain a stronger profile in the energy mix – closer to the OIES Declared Policy Scenarios (DPS) than the IEA or even some government targets. Government reality checks on energy strategy that may include relaxation of medium and long-term emissions targets, would reinforce that expectation.

The report can be downloaded below.

There is also a presentation which Graeme delivered on 17 April 2024.