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Global oil and gas operators entered 2020 unaware of what the year would throw at them. As the Covid-19 pandemic demolished global oil demand and drove oil prices down to new lows early in 2020, natural gas was not exempted. Rystad Energy estimates that global natural gas production dropped by 3.6% in 2020 as low oil and gas prices led to reduced exploration and production.

Despite the national lockdowns implemented to prevent the spread of Covid, gas demand was shielded by low prices, which made gas competitive within the power sector, preventing a larger drop. Demand for gas therefore did not fall as much as oil, recording only a 2.5% decline to about 3.84-trillion m³. Importers and buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) took advantage of low prices to substitute coal. As a result, global LNG imports grew 3% to 363-million tonnes in 2020. In Europe, imports remained strong during the first half of 2020 as buyers opted for less Russian piped gas. Asian LNG demand grew 4% year...

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