Maintenance issues and sluggish demand from the EU are behind the fall, data shows
US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) dropped 10% in June in monthly terms to 6.82 million tons due to plant maintenance and a decline in EU demand, Reuters reported this week, citing preliminary data from Refinitiv.
According to the report, planned outages at two big suppliers affected US LNG production. Combined with a warmer-than-normal winter, this led to a build-up of gas inventories and lower prices, it said.
Gas supplies to US plants in the last week of June were 10.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), “lower than the May average of 12.3 bcfd due to planned maintenance,” Rystad Energy analyst Lu Ming Pang was quoted as saying.
The report indicated that the EU’s overall LNG imports were lower last month, between 13.2 bcfd and 14.5 bcfd, with countries hitting storage goals and likely near full capacity. Data showed that the bloc’s share of US exports was 47% in June, compared with 60% in the previous month and 71% in April. Asia accounted for 27% of the total in June, up from 14% in May, while Latin America received 17% of the total last month, Reuters wrote.
The outlet pointed out that June’s 6.82 million tons of US LNG exports were above last year’s level when shipments were limited by a fire and outage at Freeport LNG, the second-largest US producer.
Analysts project exports could grow this quarter if demand does not stumble, as gas flows to US plants increase from the end of maintenance.
EU demand for LNG spiked last year following the start of the conflict in Ukraine and related sanctions against Russia, once the bloc’s main energy supplier. The EU switched from Russian pipeline gas to LNG shipments, mainly from the US and Qatar, although the bloc’s gas-buying frenzy has been criticized for taking supplies away from Asia.
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