Global demand for natural gas fell just 2.5 percent in 2020, despite the economic lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.
Natural gas demand was buoyed by low prices, which made it a sought-after commodity in the power generation sector, according to Rystad, a Norwegian energy research firm. U.S. benchmark Henry Hub natural gas prices averaged $2.03 per million British thermal units in 2020, down from $2.57 per million Btu in 2019.
By contrast, global crude demand plunged by as much as 16.4 percent as travel plummeted during the the global pandemic last year, according to the International Energy Agency. U.S. oil prices fell to negative territory for the first time in history before recovering to above $50 a barrel this month.
Despite the lockdowns, global liquified natural gas imports in 2020 grew 3 percent to 363 million tonnes, driven in large part by Asia’s recovery from the pandemic. Other countries also took advantage of low prices to substitute natural gas for coal in their power plants.