EIA: China received only six US LNG cargoes in January-April, European volumes surge

China received only six LNG cargoes from US liquefaction terminals in the January-April period of this year as Europe took most of the shipments, according to the Energy Information Administration.

US LNG exports averaged 11.5 Bcf/d during the first four months of 2022, an 18 percent increase compared with the 2021 annual average, EIA said in a report.

The increase in US LNG exports was driven by additional export capacity at Cheniere’s Sabine Pass (Train 6) and Venture Global LNG’s Calcasieu Pass (first five blocks) that came online this year and by high LNG demand, particularly in Europe, it said.

During the first four months of 2022, US LNG exports to Asia declined by 51 percent, averaging 2.3 Bcf/d compared with 4.6 Bcf/d in 2021, according to the agency.

China and South Korea were top destinations for US LNG exports in 2021. This year, however, China received only six LNG cargoes from the US in January–April or 0.2 Bcf/d.

This is way down compared with 1.2 Bcf/d in 2021 because pandemic-related lockdown measures, as well as a mild winter and high LNG spot prices, reduced demand for spot LNG imports, EIA said.

US LNG exports to South Korea and Japan also declined by 0.6 Bcf/d and 0.5 Bcf/d, respectively.

US exported 74 percent of its LNG to Europe

During the first four months of 2022, the US exported 74 percent of its LNG to Europe, compared with an annual average of 34 percent last year, EIA said.

Since December 2021, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom have been importing record-high levels of LNG, primarily because of low natural gas storage inventories.

High spot natural gas prices at the European trading hubs incentivized global LNG market participants with destination flexibility in their contracts to deliver more LNG supplies to Europe, EIA said.

Additional LNG imports in Europe and a mild winter offset lower natural gas pipeline imports from Russia, the agency said.

The US became the largest LNG supplier to the EU and United Kingdom in 2021, accounting for 26 percent of total imports.

In the first four months of 2022, LNG imports from the US to the EU and the United Kingdom have more than tripled, compared with 2021, averaging 7.3 Bcf/d and accounting for 49 percent of total imports, according to data from CEDIGAZ.

LNG imports from Russia and Qatar accounted for 14 percent each or 2.1 Bcf/d.

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