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Diversifying gas supplies, via higher Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and pipeline imports from non-Russian suppliers is key in order to phasing out EU dependence on fossil fuels from Russia. In 2022, Europe was the largest customer in the global LNG market, whereas in previous years, the EU lagged behind Japan and China on LNG imports. Indeed, EU countries imported 101mn tonnes of LNG in 2022, 58 per cent more than the previous year.[1]

Global LNG supply is expected to increase by 23 bcm in 2023, largely due to the ramp‑up of liquefaction projects in Africa and the United States[2].

As highlighted by President von der Leyen in her statement on September 7, 2022: “While Russia has cut supplies of natural gas to several EU Member States, the United States and other producers have stepped up.  Since March, global LNG exports to Europe have risen by 75 percent compared to 2021, while US LNG exports to Europe have nearly tripled.  To facilitate these efforts, the European Commission and Member States, in line with a mandate given by the European Council in March 2022, established the EU Energy Platform to coordinate measures to secure reliable and diversified energy supplies for the EU, including through the voluntary common purchase of pipeline gas, LNG, and hydrogen. The Commission has also established the first Regional Energy Platform for South East Europe to support gas diversification of the region traditionally dependent on Russian supplies. The United States is a key partner for the sustainable diversification of gas supplies to this region and other acutely impacted EU Member States, including by supporting demand reduction and accelerating clean technologies.”[3]

Cleary Posts:

[1] See Europe leads pack on LNG imports as global competition for fuel heats up, Financial Times, January 7, 2022.

[2]  See IEA, Baseline European Union gas demand and supply in 2023, available here. According to the EIA, Europe will be able to receive additional LNG as it expands its regasification capacity, but the availability of LNG cargoes to utilise this capacity is a function not only of additional LNG supply but also of demand from other importers.

[3] See Joint Statement by President von der Leyen and President Biden on European Energy Security, June 27, 2022, Brussels, available here