As of Thursday
afternoon,13 Jan, there were 41 U.S. LNG cargoes with either declared
destinations in Europe or on a likely path to the natural gas-starved
continent, compared with 24 heading to Asia, ship-tracking data compiled by
The difference of 17 cargoes is the widest so far this winter
The difference of
17 cargoes is the widest so far this winter, which has been marked by volatile
gas prices in Europe, where storage inventories are low and major supplier
Russia has not delivered as promised.
benchmark European gas futures were as much as $24 per million British thermal
units higher than those in Asia.
The gap has since
narrowed significantly, but volatile winter spot prices and shipping rates have
tipped to the point in favor of Europe, said David Seduski, an LNG industry
analyst with the New York office of Energy Aspects. The firm forecasts that
Asia will not begin to draw more U.S. LNG cargoes from Europe until the second
quarter of 2022.
“LNG imports have been the saving grace for European supply in the
short-term,” Seduski said.
U.S. LNG cargoes
to Asia can take more than a month compared to the two-week voyage for most
destinations in Europe, shipping data compiled by Bloomberg show. Those shorter
distances also result in increased tanker availability.
Spot LNG carrier rates west
of the Suez Canal of $42,000 a day are 79% lower than the December peak of
$200,000 and 75% lower than a year ago, according to shipping data firm