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EU Now Responsible for 24.3% of Global Seaborne LNG Imports

Europe’s demand has been driving a surge in US LNG exports. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “global seaborne LNG trade has continued to surge this year, helped also by the events in Ukraine. In the first 9 months of 2022, global shipments of LNG increased by +6.0% y-o-y to 300.6 mln tonnes, based on Refinitiv vessel tracking data. By far the biggest increase in demand this year came from Europe. In Jan-Sep 2022, the European Union imported 73.2 mln tonnes of LNG, an increase of +69.3% y-o-y from the 43.3 mln tonnes imported in the same period of 2021. The EU27 now accounts for 24.3% of global seaborne LNG imports. In the same period, the United Kingdom also imported 13.7 mln tonnes of LNG, up +73.5% y-o-y from the 7.9 mln tonnes in the same period of 2021. The UK now accounts for 4.6% of global LNG imports”.

According to Banchero Costa, “shipments to Asia, on the other hand, declined across the board. Mainland China imported just 46.1 mln tonnes of LNG in Jan-Sep 2022, down -22.0% y-o-y from 59.1 mln tonnes in the same period of 2021. India saw a similar -17.6% y-o-y decline to 14.7 mln tonnes, from 17.9 mln tonnes in Jan-Sep 2021. Imports to Japan declined a more modest -1.1% y-o-y to 56.6 mln t. Volumes to South Korea also declined by -1.3% y-o-y to 34.4 mln tonnes in Jan-Sep 2022”.

“The USA are now emerging at the forefront of global LNG exports. In 2021, the United States were the third largest exporter of LNG after Australia and Qatar, with a 18.8% share of global export volumes. In the full 12 months of 2021, the USA exported 72.5 mln tonnes of LNG, which represented a +50.3% yo-y increase from the 48.2 mln tonnes shipped in 2020. Volumes have been going up exponentially for many years now. In 2020, exports from the USA increased by +31.8% y-o-y, whilst in 2019 growth was +66.3% y-o-y, and in 2018 it was +54.1% y-o-y. In the first 9 months of 2022, growth in volumes nevertheless slowed down considerably. In Jan-Sep 2022, the USA exported 59.9 mln tonnes of LNG, which was just a +13.0% y-o-y increase. This was enough however for the USA to overtake Qatar, whilst still leaving them a shade behind Australia. In Jan-Sep 2022, Australia exported 60.2 mln tonnes of LNG, up +1.1% yo-y, whilst Qatar exported 59.2 mln tonnes, up +1.0% y-o-y. In terms of destinations for American LNG, the main routes are now transatlantic to the EU and UK”, said the shipbroker.

Banchero Costa added that “in Jan-Sep 2022, LNG exports from the USA to the European Union increased by +164.1% y-o-y to 31.6 mln tonnes from 12.0 mln t in the same period of 2021. The EU was now the destination for 52.7% of the USA’s total LNG exports in the first 9 months of 2022. Volumes to the UK also surged by +158.4% y-o-y in 5.3 mln tonnes, from 2.1 mln t in the same period of last year. The UK was the destination for 8.9% of American LNG shipments so far this year. The third top destination after the EU and the UK is South Korea, which accounted for 7.2% of USA LNG shipments in Jan-Sep 2022. Shipments from the USA to South Korea declined by -36.6% y-o-y so far this year to 4.3 mln tonnes. Exports to Japan also declined in 2022, by -42.1% y-o-y to 3.0 mln tonnes, with Japan holding a 5.0% share. Shipments to Mainland China also crashed by -87.0% y-o-y in Jan-Sep 2022 to 0.9 mln tonnes, from an exceptional (and unsustainable) 6.6 mln tonnes in the same period of 2021. Volumes from the USA to India also declined by -50.9% y-o-y to 1.6 mln tonnes in Jan-Sep 2022. To South America volumes declined by -59.2% y-o-y to 3.6 mln tonnes. The top loading ports in the USA are Sabine Pass Louisiana (22.2 mln t in Jan-Sep 2022), Corpus Christi Texas (11.6 mln t), Hackberry Louisiana (9.8 mln t), Freeport Texas (6.6 mln t), Cove Point Maryland (4.1 mln t), Cameron Louisiana (4.0 mln t)”, the shipbroker concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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