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Russia is the most important gas supplier for Europe

Russia, Norway, the USA and Qatar were the most important gas suppliers to the 27 EU states and the UK in 2021. Russia accounts for just under 41 percent of gas imports...

Russia, Norway, the USA and Qatar were the most important gas suppliers to the 27 EU states and the UK in 2021. Russia accounts for almost 41 percent of gas imports.

According to calculations by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), around 30.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), or about 318 billion cubic meters of natural gas, were imported into the 28 countries mentioned above last year. Of this, pipeline gas accounted for nearly 71 percent (21.8 Bcf/d) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for about 29 percent (9.0 Bcf/d). The most important supplier was Russia. From there, 10.7 Bcf/d was exported by pipeline and 1.8 Bcf/d by LNG to the 27 EU countries and the UK. This represents 40.6 percent of all European natural gas imports in 2021.

By pipeline, an average of 10.7 Bcf/d of natural gas was delivered from Russia via the three key entry points at Kondratki (Poland) Greifswald and Vleke Kapusany (Slovakia) last year - compared with 11.8 Bcf/d in 2020 and 14.1 Bcf/d in 2019. In contrast, pipeline deliveries from Norway increased from 10.4 Bcf/d in 2019 and 2020 to 11.1 Bcf/d in 2021, although this was not enough to offset reduced pipeline gas deliveries from Russia.

Of the EU-27's LNG imports, with the inclusion of the United Kingdom, the three countries, the United States, Qatar, and Russia, accounted for 70 percent. Other LNG suppliers included Nigeria and Algeria in particular. Among these, the U.S. emerged as the most important LNG supplier to Europe in 2021. Twenty-six percent of all EU-27 LNG purchases, including the UK, came from the U.S. - followed by Qatar with 24 percent and Russia with 20 percent.

Shortages in supply to the European market led to a sharp increase in natural gas prices. Record prices were quoted at the Title Transfer Facility (TTF) in the Netherlands - the most liquid virtual natural gas trading hub in Europe. For example, the average TTF price from September 2021 through the first week of February 2022 was $28.52 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), according to U.S. EIA calculations. A price peak of $60.20/MMBtu was reached on December 21, 2021. By comparison, the TTF price averaged $9.28/MMBtu from January through August 2021, $3.28/MMBtu in 2020, and the EIA cites a price of $4.45/MMBtu for 2019.

Historically, spot prices in Europe have been consistently lower than in Asia. However, this has changed in recent months. LNG prices in Europe actually exceeded comparable quotes in Asia, which had led to increased flexibly available supplies of LNG to Europe. In December 2021 and January 2022, LNG imports from Europe had actually increased to an average of 10.8 Bcf/d and 14.9 Bcf/d, respectively - spurred by higher spot LNG prices at the TTF hub compared to Asia.

Natural Gas
Article by Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer
Article by Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer