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EIA: Europe was the main destination for US LNG exports in 2022

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LNG Industry,

US exports of LNG averaged 10.6 billion ft3/d in 2022, increasing by 9% (0.8 billion ft3/d) compared with 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Natural Gas Monthly. The increase in US LNG exports was driven by strong LNG demand in Europe, high international natural gas prices, and expanded US liquefaction capacity. US LNG exports to Europe increased 141%, or 4.0 billion ft3/d, compared with 2021.

US LNG exports to Europe (the EU-27 plus the UK) increased as a result of both natural gas supply challenges in Europe after Russia's pipeline exports to the region declined to 40-year lows, and higher prices at Europe’s natural gas trading hubs relative to other LNG markets.

Europe became the primary destination for US LNG exports in 2022, accounting for 64% (6.8 billion ft3/d) of total exports. Four countries – France, the UK, Spain, and the Netherlands – accounted for a combined 74% (5.0 billion ft3/d) of US LNG exports to Europe.

In 2022, Europe increased LNG imports to an all-time high of 14.9 billion ft3/d (annual average), 65% (5.9 billion ft3/d) more than in the previous year, according to data from Cedigaz. Similar to 2021, three countries – the US, Qatar, and Russia – provided 73% (10.8 billion ft3/d) of Europe’s LNG imports in 2022. Excluding intra-regional trade, the remaining 3.8 billion ft3/d of LNG imports was supplied by 14 other LNG-exporting countries. Europe’s LNG import capacity expanded in 2022, and we expect it to grow by one-third by the end of 2024, as countries add new LNG regasification facilities and expand existing import terminals.

US LNG exports to Asia declined by 46% (2.1 billion ft3/d) and averaged 2.5 billion ft3/d in 2022. Most countries in Asia reduced LNG imports from the US last year compared with 2021. The most notable reduction was in US LNG exports to China, which decreased by 78% (1 billion ft3/d). China’s annual LNG imports from all countries declined 20% (2.1 billion ft3/d) in 2022 compared with 2021 and averaged 8.4 billion ft3/d—the lowest level since 2019, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

US LNG exports to eight countries in Latin America declined by 62% (1.1 billion ft3/d) in 2022. The largest decline was in exports to Brazil – by 77% (0.6 billion ft3/d) – as increased availability of hydroelectric power reduced natural gas demand for electricity generation at Brazil’s natural gas-fired power plants. In 2022, Kuwait was the only country in the Middle East that imported US LNG, with exports averaging 0.2 billion ft3/d, or twice 2021 levels.

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