On March 25, while attending an EU summit in Brussels, US President Joe Biden announced that 15 billion cubic metres (bcm) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be redirected and delivered to the EU immediately to help replace the 100 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas that the EU plans to phase out by the end of the year.
Starting in 2023, the objective is to grow up to 50 billion cubic meters of US LNG per year. What is the issue? The LNG infrastructure in the EU is insufficient to receive all of this gas.
To receive LNG – natural gas that has been liquefied for shipment and then regasified at its destination – three things are required: a liquefication export terminal, a gasification import terminal, and pipelines on both ends to transport the gas to and from its destination.
The majority of US export terminals and EU import terminals are already at full capacity and those that aren’t don’t have the pipeline infrastructure to transport the gas to its final destination.
Spain, the European country with the most LNG import terminals to date, faces a shortage of pipeline links to the rest of the continent.
Only ten of the EU’s 27 member states, plus the United Kingdom, import LNG, with three of them accounting for two-thirds of the total (Spain 25%, France 21%, and the United Kingdom 18%). Germany, which has the greatest need for LNG (Russian gas will account for 65 percent of Germany’s gas imports in 2020), currently lacks LNG installations.
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