Spain overtakes China destination liquefied natural gas (LNG) US

Spain has become one of the major destinations worldwide for the US supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), even surpassing China.

According to US Department of Energy data, as of July 2022, Spain has overtaken China as one of the main destinations for LNG from the United States worldwide. Specifically, 7.6 percent of all LNG exported by America worldwide since 2016 has been discharged on the Iberian Peninsula.

Thanks to the boom in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the United States has become the largest gas producer in the world. Although Spain has historically been the main customer, this year it was overtaken by France and the Netherlands.

With a gas supply crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, European countries have reinforced America’s role as a major supplier. France is the largest consumer, while countries such as Italy, Austria and Switzerland also became customers after Russia shut down its pipelines.

In total, Spain received about 916,000 million cubic feet (or Bcf), or the equivalent of about 290 tankers of methane. Only Japan (9.6 percent) and South Korea (13.2 percent) have exceeded these volumes in the past six years.

China fell to fourth place by 7.6 percent (914 thousand billion cubic feet). France climbed to fifth place by 6.2 per cent, pushing the United Kingdom back to sixth place. Brazil and India remain in seventh and eighth places. The Netherlands is another country that climbs up the rankings, moving from eleventh to ninth.

In July 2022, France, the Netherlands, and Spain received 41 percent of the total gas exported by the United States abroad. South Korea and Japan held another 17 percent between them. The US industry shipped 300.2 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas, 0.1 percent less than it was in June and 0.1 percent more than in the same month in 2021, according to data in the report.

US capacity has increased significantly this year with 100 LNG carriers taking off in July compared to 97 the year before. This is despite the fact that one of the country’s major facilities, Freeport, remains out of order until November due to an accident in June. Until then, about 20 percent of the LNG exported came from this gas hub.

The huge jump achieved by European countries in the import of liquefied natural gas is due to the fact that the United States is gradually occupying the role of Russia as a major supplier of gas to the continent. This is particularly the case after the Kremlin opted to reduce fuel shipments from 2021 and even reduce them to zero in 2022 in the case of gas pipelines to Germany.

Countries like Spain are still importing gas from Russia via methane tankers due to the long-term contracts currently in place, and these numbers are expected to continue declining in the coming months, according to the company.


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