Demand for LNG in America and Europe will surpass Asian consumption by as early as 2015, while global LNG demand is set to triple over the next 20 years to 2030, according to the recent sentiments of US oil major ExxonMobil Corp.

Exxon sees overall energy demand expected to grow at 1.3% per year and gas consumption to account for about a quarter of global energy consumption by 2030, up from about 20% now.

Alan Hirshberg, Vice President of Established Areas Project at ExxonMobil, said at a recent oil and gas conference in Perth, “From our projections, no fossil fuel will grow faster than natural gas. By 2030, overall LNG demand will more than triple from where it is today and the regional distribution will significantly change.”

The global LNG business has so far been driven by Asia, underpinned by consumption in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Asian demand currently accounts for about two-thirds of global LNG consumption, but growing dependence on gas imports in the US and Europe will result in Western demand surpassing Asian consumption by as early as 2015 - changing demand patterns for the first time in 30 years.

A long list of countries now plan LNG import terminals to diversify their supplies and reduce reliance on pipeline gas, while new techniques are allowing more producers to export gas as LNG and more countries to import it.