The EU has imported 76.5 million tonnes of LNG during 2023 (Jan.-September), an increase of 4.4% versus last year, with US accounting for 43.7% of the total seaborne imports. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “global seaborne LNG trade has continued to surge last year, helped also by the events in Ukraine which forced Europe to diversify away from Russian pipeline gas. In the full 12 months of 2022, global shipments of LNG increased by +4.9% y-o-y to 404.1 mln t, based on Refinitiv vessel tracking data. This year, things started very strongly in the first quarter, but then slowed down somewhat over the spring and summer”.
According to the shipbroker, “in the first 9 months of 2023, LNG shipments increased by +1.6% y-o-y to 304.2 mln tonnes, from 299.6 mln tonnes in the same period last year. The largest exporter of LNG is now the USA, which accounted for 21.2% of shipments in the first 9 months of 2023, followed by Australia with 19.8% and Qatar with 19.6%. The USA exported 64.5 mln tonnes in Jan-Sep 2023, +7.9% y-o-y. Australia shipped 60.2 mln tonnes in Jan-Sep 2023, +0.0% y-o-y. Qatar exported 59.7 mln tonnes in Jan-Sep 2023, +0.7% y-o-y. Russia shipped 21.9 mln tonnes in the same period, down -9.5% y-o-y from the same period in 2022, but still above any year up to 2021. Mainland China imported 50.9 mln tonnes of LNG in Jan-Sep 2023, +10.8% y-o-y from 46.0 mln t in Jan-Sep 2022, but below the 59.1 mln t in Jan-Sep 2021. The European Union (27) is now the largest seaborne importer of LNG in the world. Indeed, by far the biggest increase in demand over the last couple of years came from Europe. In Jan-Dec 2022, the European Union imported 100.8 mln tonnes of LNG, an increase of +68.9% y-o-y from the 59.7 mln tonnes imported in 2021. In terms of individual countries, this was 26.4 mln t to France, 22.8 mln t to Spain, 12.8 mln t to the Netherlands, 11.3 mln t to Belgium, 10.7 mln t to Italy, 4.5 mln t to Portugal, 4.4 mln t to Poland”.
Banchero Costa said that “in the first 9 months of 2023, the EU imported 76.5 mln tonnes of LNG, which was +4.4% more than in the same period last year. The EU27 now accounts for 25.3% of global seaborne LNG imports, well ahead of China in second place with 16.9% and Japan with 16.3%. Equally significant growth has been seen in imports into the UK. In Jan-Dec 2022, LNG imports into the UK jumped by +75.0% y-o-y to 19.4 mln tonnes, from 11.1 mln tonnes in Jan-Dec 2021. In Jan-Sep 2023, the United Kingdom imported 11.7 mln tonnes of LNG, -14.1% y-o-y from the 13.6 mln t in Jan-Sep 2022, but well above the 7.9 mln t in Jan-Sep 2021. The UK now accounts for 3.9% of global LNG imports. In terms of sources for LNG shipments into Europe, there has been a huge jump in volumes from the United States”.
“In the first 9 months of 2022, the EU imported 33.5 mln tonnes of LNG from the USA, up +5.4% y-o-y from 31.7 mln tonnes in Jan-Sep 2022, but most importantly +186.5% from the 11.7 mln t in Jan-Sep 2021. The USA accounted for 43.7% of seaborne LNG imports into Europe in the first three quarters of 2023. Despite all the talk of sanctions, volumes from Russia have not declined, far from it. In Jan-Sep 2023, the EU imported 11.7 mln t of LNG from Russia, down by -3.2% y-o-y compared to 12.1 mln t in Jan-Sep 2022, but still well above the 8.3 mln t in Jan-Sep 2021 or the 9.7 mln t in Jan-Sep 2020. In Jan-Sep 2023, Russia accounted for 15.3% of the EU’s LNG imports. Qatar is now in third place amongst top suppliers to the EU, with a 12.7% share, shipping 9.7 mln tonnes to the EU in Jan-Sep 2023, up +1.0% y-o-y. West Africa is in fourth place with a 10.7% share, shipping 8.2 mln t to the EU in Jan-Sep 2023, down -5.4% y-o-y.
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