Global natural gas demand is rising, setting the stage for up to four export projects to be sanctioned this year, the Baker Hughes Co. CEO said Thursday.

Only one liquefied natural gas (LNG) project was sanctioned during pandemic-plagued 2020, but there are signals from customers for positive final investment decisions (FID) this year, CEO Lorenzo Simonelli said Thursday during a quarterly conference call.

That would be welcome news for an industry that saw up to 200 U.S. gas export cargoes shelved last summer as demand — and prices — plunged. By 2030, Simonelli said, the global thirst for LNG will translate into needing up to 700 million tons of capacity. That should translate into FIDs for 50-100 million tons of LNG capacity over the next three to four years.