As Europe competes with Northeast Asia for LNG cargoes, other importers steer clear

For much of the season, many clubs usually vie for the EPL, Serie A, Bundesliga, La Liga or Ligue 1 titles, as there were several buyers competing for the cargoes available until the fourth quarter. But as the latter part of the competition approaches, a list of title contenders is often reduced to just two clubs, which in terms of the LNG market are Northeast Asia and Europe.

As late as the middle of the third quarter, large quantities of LNG, including a substantial amount of one-off cargoes, were brought out of Europe amid unprecedented demand in other parts of the world. In August, LNG imports to South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East totaled around 6 million tonnes, while only 4.7 million tonnes were delivered to European terminals during this month, according to Kpler. Higher seasonal consumption in these regions, combined with limited electricity production from certain alternative energy sources, has deprived Europe of a significant part of the volumes transported by sea.

As the fourth quarter drew closer, things started to change, with once-active spot buyers retreating one after another and Europe reclaiming lost ground in the league of LNG importers. Between August and November, freight deliveries to regasing facilities in South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East fell by around 40%, while a record rise in prices at European gas hubs resulted in a 60% increase in LNG imports to NWE and Mediterranean ports. during the same period.

Outside of Northeast Asia and Europe, some buyers had to restrict their imports in an environment of high prices and turned to other fuels, as in the case of Chile which found in the diesel a substitute for LNG. Others, like players in the Middle East, have cut back on purchases due to falling demand for air conditioning, after peaking in July and August. against a background of increased production of hydroelectric power.

Intense competition in the global LNG market is currently taking place between buyers in Northeast Asia and Europe. Although the former have succeeded in building above-average stocks in LNG terminals as the colder months in the northern hemisphere approach, La Niña threatens to weigh on supplies in Asia-Pacific. As for the latter, stable LNG flows are particularly important for Europe, given the record gas stocks in underground storage.

Overall, the winner of the competition between the two regions is known well in advance. However, once again drawing a parallel between the LNG market and European football, sometimes unexpected things happen, as happened with Leicester City’s 2015/16 Premier League title or LOSC Lille’s victory in 2020/21 in Ligue 1 😉

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer.

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