The UK is set to receive its first big US liquefied natural gas shipment this week, as growing US supplies of the super-cooled fuel find new buyers in Europe.
The LNG cargo from the Sabine Pass facility in the Gulf of Mexico will arrive at the Isle of Grain terminal around July 8, according to industry sources. The cargo has been loaded on to the Maran Gas Mystras tanker, chartered by France’s Total.
As European countries seek to reduce their reliance on Russian pipeline gas, US LNG supplies could provide one alternative in the coming years amid greater focus on energy security.
“Aside from pipeline gas, the UK and Europe have relied on LNG from Algeria, Nigeria and Qatar. The US in time to come will provide another option,” said Ed Cox, editor of Global LNG Markets at ICIS, which provides pricing information and market analysis.
The latest cargo he said comes as demand for spot cargoes in the global market is weak and Europe is the market for last resort.
“We’ve been expecting the UK to take cargoes, it’s just taken longer than expected,” he said, adding that the Sabine Pass plant that began shipping cargoes last year had already sent LNG elsewhere in Europe such as Portugal and Spain.
After decades of being a big importer of natural gas, the US is to be a net exporter because of the country’s bumper production caused by the development of previously uncommercial shale reserves.