As winter approaches, a worldwide battle for LNG has begun

As winter approaches, a worldwide battle for LNG has begun

Because the starting of the battle in Ukraine, on February 24, they’ve turn out to be extra seen close to the European coasts. On their solution to Asia, these LNG carriers, manufacturing unit ships, with giant refrigerated tanks, used to move gasoline over lengthy distances, at the moment are usually “rerouted” from Asia to an Previous Continent thirsty for gasoline, after Moscow ceased deliveries. Because the begin of the battle, the European Union (EU) has elevated its imports of liquefied pure gasoline (LNG) by round 60%, notably from the US.

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This nice upheaval in gasoline flows illustrates a truth: a worldwide battle for LNG has begun. “After the tragedy [nucléaire] from Fukushima [en 2011]LNG had already made it doable to cushion the shock, says Thierry Bros, professor at Sciences Po, vitality skilled. Europe then despatched this liquefied gasoline to Japan and used Russian gasoline as a substitute,” he remembers. Right this moment, a twist in historical past: “If Europe has been in a position to replenish its gasoline shares so shortly, it’s because of the LNG that it has diverted from Asia, and this, by paying a excessive worth for it, even when it means inflicting “blackouts” in different nations, corresponding to India and Pakistan. »






and Tobago

United States


from South









United States







conventional gasoline

Regionalized market and land transport

Important gasoline pipelines

closed or restricted as a result of battle in Ukraine or different diplomatic tensions

Liquefied pure gasoline (LNG)

A substitute for diversify suppliers

LNG terminal

liquefaction (export)

Liquefied pure gasoline (LNG)

A substitute for diversify suppliers

LNG terminal

regasification (import)

Liquefied pure gasoline (LNG)

A substitute for diversify suppliers

Important sea routes LNG

Liquefied pure gasoline (LNG)

A substitute for diversify suppliers

in billions of cubic meters (m3), in 2021

The rise of the US

Because the exploitation of oil shale, the nation is the main producer of hydrocarbons, forward of Saudi Arabia and Russia. In 2016, the primary gasoline liquefaction plant paved the way in which for exports, and terminals have since multiplied within the Gulf of Mexico.

China’s opportunistic sport

China is the world’s largest importer of LNG. Throughout the first half of 2022, Beijing bought 4 million tonnes of American or African LNG to European states. A number of LNG carriers have turned again to the EU. However, with the strategy of winter, Beijing might maintain its orders and enhance competitors on the gasoline market.

The chance for Europe* to get out of the Russian entice

LNG imports elevated by 60% within the first half of 2022, exceeding these of Russian gasoline. However Jap Europe, very depending on Russia, has little or no entry to the ocean. Germany has a shoreline, however no regasification plant. Spain has six terminals, however not sufficient pipelines to move gasoline to the remainder of the European Union (EU).

* European Union plus United Kingdom

The great deal for Algeria

First African exporter of gasoline, Algeria delivers Europe by gasoline pipeline. However for the reason that diplomatic disaster with Rabat on the finish of 2021, Algiers has minimize the pipeline that passes by Morocco. The event of liquefied gasoline would allow Algeria, the EU’s fourth LNG provider, to not rely upon its neighbour.

Qatar’s long-term technique

The world’s second-largest LNG exporter after Australia, the emirate primarily delivers to Asian nations, underneath long-term contracts wherein European gamers have lengthy refused to commit.

Russia’s vitality blackmail

Important supply of gasoline for Europe, Russia has restricted its deliveries since Western sanctions linked to the invasion of Ukraine. This vitality blackmail is pushing Europeans to search for different companions and to show to LNG.

The brand new attraction of Africa

Africa’s gasoline potential is of curiosity to Europeans, who come up in opposition to insecurity (piracy within the Niger delta, jihadist assaults in Mozambique and the Sahel) and competitors: deliveries of gasoline from new offshore fields in Senegal ( 2.5 million tons of LNG per yr on the finish of 2023) are largely pre-empted by Asian prospects. Asia now accounts for 73% of worldwide LNG demand.

Sources: “BP Statistical Evaluate of World Vitality 2022”; Worldwide Fuel Union (IGU), “World LNG Report”, 2022; Data of energies

Infographics The world : Victoria Denys, Francesca Fattori, Benjamin Martinez, Delphine Papin and Floriane Picard

Is that this situation tenable in the long term? As winter approaches, Asian nations will even must replenish their shares, which shouldn’t fail to exacerbate worldwide competitors. South Korea, the place laws requires shares to be 90% full by the top of October, must import extra. For its half, Japan, very far-sighted, has already stuffed them above the common of the final 5 years. However what about China?

Extra CO2

“It is the good unknown, emphasizes Vincent Demoury, Normal Delegate of the Worldwide Group of LNG Importers, the whole lot will rely upon the climate, whether or not the winter is delicate or not, and the impression of the Covid-19 pandemic on industrial exercise. » But additionally the revival of its coal-fired energy vegetation. “It isn’t excluded, if the costs favor it, that Beijing decides to proceed to function its coal-fired energy stations whereas supplying gasoline from Central Asia and Russia, because it has performed within the latter month “, continues this specialist.

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As a result of, if the US exports extra of its gasoline, primarily from shale, the actual winner on this disaster stays unquestionably China, which resells to Europe a part of its LNG cargoes, bought on long-term contracts , at stratospheric costs. Snug, this supply of provide which makes it doable to beat Russian constraints – and pipes – is already giving wings to Europeans. Evidenced by the infrastructure tasks that the EU is within the strategy of buying. And this, regardless of the chance of getting slowed down in a expensive local weather technique.

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