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Europe May Face LNG Crisis This Winter

Europe May Face LNG Crisis This Winter

  • Rush to wean off Russian gas has made European consumers highly vulnerable to LNG price shocks.
  • Global LNG demand outstrips supply in 2022.
  • New LNG projects are unlikely to provide relief until 2024.

A liquified natural gas (LNG) crisis is brewing for European countries dealing with energy insecurity in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as demand will outstrip supply by the end of this year, Rystad Energy research shows. Although soaring demand has spurred the greatest rush of new LNG projects worldwide in more than a decade, construction timelines mean material relief is unlikely only after 2024. Global LNG demand is expected to hit 436 million tonnes in 2022, outpacing the available supply of just 410 million tonnes. A perfect winter storm may be forming for Europe as the continent seeks to limit Russian gas flows. The supply imbalance and high prices will set the scene for the most bullish environment for LNG projects in more than a decade, although supply from these projects will only arrive and provide relief from after 2024

The European Union’s REPowerEU plan has set an ambitious target to reduce dependence on Russian gas by 66% within this year – an aim that will clash with the EU’s goal of replenishing gas storage to 80% of capacity by 1 November. By shunning Russian gas, Europe has destabilized the entire global LNG market that began the year with a precarious balance after a tumultuous 2021. The decision to sharply reduce reliance on Russian gas and LNG from current levels of between 30-40% will transform the global LNG market, resulting in a steep increase in energy-security based European LNG demand that current and under-development projects will not be able to supply.

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