The European Union has been seeking Qatari shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG) in the event of a possible Russia invasion of Ukraine.
Qatar’s exports of LNG to Europe reportedly increased by 65.1% in January, 2022, in comparison to the same month in 2021.
The data was gathered by Qatar-based Lusail News, which also attributes the rise in exports to an increase in destinations receiving Qatari gas.
Globally, Qatar’s shipments reached more than 14 destinations. The Gulf state’s LNG exports amounted to 21% of the global market and reached up to 7.2 million tonnes.
Five destinations in Northern and Western Europe acquired more than 1.1 million tonnes in January as over 1.2 million tonnes remain in transit. The UK topped European destinations with roughly 461,000 tonnes, followed by Italy at 380,000 tonnes, and Poland with 91,000 tonnes. Belgium also received around 76,000 tonnes.
Europe is currently grappling with an energy crisis, which worsened during the winter where the demand was higher. The price of natural gas was four time higher in comparison to the last winter.
Contributing factor cited by experts include low gas storage levels, less LNG deliveries, and lower Russian gas supplies.
The latest Russia-Ukraine tensions pose a threat on Europe’s energy supply, given that it receives 40% of its gas supplies from Russia. Almost a third of the shipments pass through Ukraine. Officials from the EU have been in talks with Qatar over providing Europe with gas shipments in the event of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Qatar provides up to 5% of Europe’s LNG supply and officials from the Gulf state said that it cannot unilaterally bridge the supply gap.
Asia remains the Gulf state’s highest market, with India topping January’s destinations.
India received more than 1.2 million tonnes, followed by China at around 1 million tonnes, South Korea with roughly 661,000 tonnes, and Pakistan with 504,000 tonnes.
Lusail’s data anticipates that China will lead gas exports once the shipments currently in transit are delivered.
According to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics, Qatar was the world’s biggest LNG exporter last year, with gas supplies reaching 110.2 bcm (billion cubic metres). It was followed by Australia at 107.2 bcm, then the US at 96.3 bcm.
Qatar also has the LNG production capacity of up to 77 million mt/year (metric tonne per year). This number would be ramped up through the North Field expansion project—the largest in the world.
Through the project, QatarEnergy is set to become the largest provider of natural gas by 2030.
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