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EU is Now the Largest Seaborne Importer of LNG

The EU’s share of LNG imports via sea has grown to 24.6% during the ten months of 2022 (January-October), which means it now is the biggest importer globally. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “global seaborne LNG trade has continued to surge this year, helped also by the disruption to Russian pipelines and increased stockpiling in Western Europe. In the first 10 months of 2022, global loadings of LNG increased by +5.8% y-o-y to 334.7 mln tonnes, based on Refinitiv vessel tracking data. The biggest rise in exports has been from the United States, which recorded a massive +12.0% y-o-y increase in shipments in the first 10 months of this year, to 66.3 mln t. However, perhaps surprisingly, an almost equal performance was seen from Russia, with exports up by +11.3% y-o-y to an all-time record 27.2 mln tonnes in the first 10 months of this year.

Source: Banchero Costa

According to Banchero Costa, “Australia remains the world’s largest seaborne exporter of LNG, accounting for 20.1% of global volumes so far this year, ahead of Qatar (19.8%) and the USA (19.8%). Shipments from Australia increased by +1.0% y-o-y in Jan-Oct 2022 to 67.3 mln tonnes. Volumes from Qatar increased by +1.4% y-o-y to 66.3 mln tonnes in Jan-Oct 2022. In terms of destinations, Western Europe is leading the way, as it tries to diversify away from Russian pipeline gas. The European Union (27) is now the largest seaborne importer of LNG in the world, with a 24.6% share in the first 10 months of 2022. In the first 10 months of 2022, the EU27 imported 81.8 mln tonnes of LNG, which represents a +68.4% y-oy increase from the 48.6 mln tonnes in the same period of 2021. This is also, by far, an all time record. Russia is the fourth largest seaborne exporter of liquified natural gas in the world, after Australia, Qatar, and the USA, with a 8.1% share of the market so far this year. In calendar 2021 the country exported a total of 30.3 mln t of LNG by sea, according to Refinitiv vessel tracking, an increase of +5.4% y-o-y.

The shipbroker added that “shipments from Russia actually increased further this year, by an impressive +11.3% y-o-y to 27.2 mln tonnes in Jan-Oct 2022. Russia this year recorded the highest growth in volumes of any exporter, second only to the United States. The majority of LNG exports from Russia are currently sourced from the Yamal LNG project, the northernmost industrial facility on the globe, and loaded at Sabetta Port on Russia’s Arctic coast. In Jan-Oct 2022, exports from Yamal LNG reached 17.3 mln tonnes (64% of Russia’s total LNG exports). A second LNG Plant, named Artic LNG 2, with three LNG trains with a capacity of 6.6 mtpa each, is currently under construction with completion date planned for 2022. The second largest operational LNG export facility in Russia is in Prigorodnoye on Sakhalin Island, in the country’s Far East region, from the Sakhalin-2 project. This was the first LNG export facility in Russia. Exports from Sakhalin reached 9.2 mln tonnes of LNG in Jan-Oct 2022, which was 34% of Russia’s total”.

Source: Banchero Costa

“Finally, small amounts of LNG (0.6 mln t in Jan-Oct 2022) are shipped from Vysotsk on the Gulf of Finland. In terms of destinations, the main customer for Russian LNG remains the European Union. In Jan-Oct 2022, LNG exports from Russia to the European Union increased by +41.8% y-o-y to 13.5 mln t from 9.6 mln t in the same period of 2021. The EU was still the destination for 49.8% of Russia’s total LNG exports in the first 10 months of 2022. Volumes to the UK, on the other hand, crashed by -82.5% y-o-y to 0.3 mln tonnes, from 1.7 mln t in the same period of last year. The second top destination after Europe is Japan, which accounted for almost 21% of Russian LNG shipments in Jan-Oct 2022. Shipments to Japan were down by -0.5% y-o-y this year to 5.6 mln t. Exports to South Korea also declined in 2022, by -20.9% y-o-y to 1.6 mln t, with Korea holding a 6.0% share. Shipments to Mainland China increased by +21.2% y-o-y in Jan-Oct 2022 to 4.4 mln tonnes. China was the destination for 16.1% of Russian LNG shipments this year”, Banchero Costa concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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