August 2022, Vol. 249, No. 8


Europe Imported Record Amounts of LNG

By U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)   

The European Union and United Kingdom’s level of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports set a record high in April 2022, averaging 16.5 Bcf/d (467 MMcm/d) monthly and exceeding 19 Bcf/d (538 MMcm/d) on some days in April.

Europe’s LNG imports increased in 2022 because natural gas storage inventories were at historically low levels from fall 2021 through spring 2022. Traditional sources of natural gas and some substitute fuels delivered by pipeline have not been meeting Europe’s energy needs, and spot natural gas prices at major European hubs have generally been higher than spot prices in other markets.  

The higher spot prices in Europe have resulted in more imports from suppliers with destination flexibility in their contracts, particularly from the United States.  

From January through May 2022, LNG imports into the European Union and the United Kingdom averaged 14.9 Bcf/d (422 MMcm/d), which is 5.9 Bcf/d ([167 MMcm/d] 66%) more than the annual average in 2021 and 4.7 Bcf/d (133 MMcm/d) more than the pre-pandemic high of 10.3 Bcf/d (292 MMcm/d) in 2019, according to data from international gas association CEDIGAZ.  

Currently, 14 countries in Europe have LNG import facilities; however, use of these facilities varies by region. The northern and southern parts of the European natural gas pipeline grid are not fully integrated.   

LNG import terminals in northwest Europe are connected to a more fully integrated pipeline grid, which can transport large volumes of natural gas to major load centers and storage facilities across northern Europe. LNG import facilities in southern Europe primarily serve local and regional markets.  

From January through May 2022, deliveries of regasified LNG (LNG vaporized from a liquid back to its gaseous form) to the pipeline grid in Spain, Portugal and Italy in southern Europe averaged 4.6 Bcf/d (130 MMcm/d), and LNG import (or regasification) terminals in the region were used at 58% of their capacity.   

During the same period, volumes of regasified LNG delivered to France, Belgium and the Netherlands in northwest Europe averaged 5.8 Bcf/d (164 MMcm/d), exceeding the nameplate capacity of regasification facilities and reaching an all-time peak utilization of 115% in April 2022.

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