Rising demand for natural gas from suppliers among Mediterranean countries, where pipelines are not a possible means of transportation, has led to an increase in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) traffic in the region’s waterways.
The Mediterranean Sea is among the world’s busiest waterways.
From container ships to bulk carriers, many vessels sail through these waters, steadily increasing the transit activity over time. Within the ten-year period between 2006 and 2016, transit activity in the Mediterranean Sea grew by 23%. A relatively small share of this growth came from LNG. However, due to the rapidly increasing demand of natural gas among Mediterranean countries, LNG traffic is only expected to rise in the near future.
The importance of LNG comes from its logistical advantage. By liquefying the gas, not only is the energy denser compared to its gas form, but it also occupies 600 times less space, which drastically lowers the cost of transport, and makes LNG one of the most favorable energy resources for both importers and exporters.
In the case of Mediterranean ports, the annual total of loaded and discharged amount of LNG is 56 million metric tons, which is roughly equal to 3.3 million TEUs.
Although this may seem like only a fraction of overall transit activity, it is expected to gain a much larger share in upcoming years, due to the strategic considerations aimed at diversifying energy supplies among Mediterranean countries, where marine transport of energy sources is the only option.
Spain, Turkey, France, Italy, Egypt, and Greece have already proven to be leading importers of the region by collectively comprising 10.4% of the share of global LNG imports. With many other countries in the region will soon join, LNG traffic and infrastructure projects are certain to increase in number, scale, and size, with surprising developments sure to come.