Europe replaced Asia as the main destination for LNG exports from the United States in the first quarter of 2022, while gas pipeline exports to Mexico continued to grow, according to the latest trade dashboard compiled by the Gas Regulatory Division of the US Department of Energy.
France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the Netherlands together imported 622.5 billion cubic feet, or 60% of a total of 1.03 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas shipped from US export terminals in 315 shipments, according to the report.
The jump in shipments across the Atlantic came in response to sharp price increases as Russian pipeline deliveries dwindled and the continent sought to diversify supplies that have been jeopardized by the war in Ukraine.
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LNG prices in the United States in 1Q2022 averaged $8.35/MMBtu in the United Kingdom, $8.37 in the Netherlands, $8.63 in Spain, $9.53 in France and 9. $61 in Turkey, according to the DOE report.
Ranked by LNG import volumes from the United States, France took first place at 154.1 Bcf, followed by Spain at 148 Bcf, the United Kingdom 142.2 Bcf, Turkey 105.4 Bcf and from the Netherlands 72.8 Bcf.
US LNG flow across the Atlantic also reached, in smaller volumes, Greece, Croatia, Lithuania, Italy, Malta and Poland, according to DOE records.
European buyers have replaced the main 2021 customers for US LNG: South Korea, China and Japan. Asia’s largest importer of US cargo in 1Q2022, South Korea, ranked sixth in volume with 68.6 billion cubic feet.
However, as the winter season approaches, Asian prices are rising in an effort to attract more US LNG to the region. In northeast Asia, in particular, there are signs that cargo arrivals to Asia may now be on the rise, with Japanese and Korean companies increasing their purchases.
The unquenchable thirst for LNG helped superchilled fuel lead North America’s growth in international gas trade during the quarter. The 1.03 Tcf of overseas freight exceeded the 1Q2021 total of 834.4 Bcf by 24%, according to DOE data.
In continental pipeline trade, US exports to Mexico rose 1% to 498.6 Bcf, or 5.5 Bcf/d, but prices fell 50% to $4.80. The comparable period in 2021 included winter storm Uri, which pushed up gas prices in the United States and Mexico in February last year.
Rio Grande City, TX was the top gas export point to Mexico by volume during the quarter at 138.3 billion cubic feet, followed by Brownsville, TX at 73.7 billion cubic feet. The two locations combined account for 42.5% of gas exports to Mexico.
Quarterly U.S. exports to Canada rose 2% year over year to 259.9 billion cubic feet, or 2.9 billion cubic feet per day, according to the DOE report. Prices picked up by northbound deliveries rose 68% to $5.40.
Canadian exports to the United States increased 3% to 830.4 Bcf, or 9.2 Bcf/d, in 1Q2022 compared to the same period last year. Prices at the Canadian border gained 45% to $5.19/MMBtu.