For the first time, America is supplying more natural gas to the bloc than Russia, but the cost is 10 times higher
The United States ramped up its supply of liquefied natural gas to Europe in September, Reuters reported this week, citing tracking data by Refinitiv Eikon. However, exports were below average overall for the first eight months of 2022 due to an outage at a major LNG terminal.
US LNG production has been lagging behind full capacity since a fire in June brought it to a halt at the Freeport terminal, which is the second-largest liquefaction facility in the United States, accounting for a fifth of all US LNG exports prior to the incident.
Meanwhile, demand and prices for LNG are rising as energy-starved European buyers seek alternatives to Russian gas.
For the first time, Europe has superseded Asia as the biggest destination for US liquefied natural gas. In September, 87 shipments carrying 6.3 million tons headed to Europe, slightly exceeding August volumes of 6.25 million tons, according to tanker tracking data. That brings US LNG exports to Europe to nearly 70% in September, up from 56% and 63% in August and July, respectively.
According to previous reports by the US Energy Information Administration, the country sent almost three-quarters of all its liquefied natural gas to Europe in the first four months of 2022. The increase means the US now accounts for nearly half of the bloc’s LNG imports, about twice the share seen in 2021.
But experts say that even though US LNG exports helped fill European gas stores ahead of schedule, the bill was 10 times higher than the historical average cost of filling up tanks for winter.
Increased shipments of super-chilled fuel to the EU also left fewer cargoes for Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean last month.