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European LNG Tracker

IEEFA’s European LNG Tracker is a publicly available interactive data set to visualize Europe’s LNG buildout, including LNG flows to and through Europe. Unless stated otherwise, the charts were built using data available as of 31 December 2022. The data set is built by compiling data from a range of sources, including S&P Global Commodity Insights, GIE, and IEEFA analysis.   

This page will be updated quarterly.

Last Updated: 22 March 2023

Existing and Planned Infrastructure | LNG Outlook | Traded Volumes | LNG from Russia

Existing and Planned Infrastructure

In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, countries in Europe* are betting on efficiency measures and increased LNG imports from non-Russian sources to help cut the continent's dependence on Russian gas by at least 155 billion cubic meters (bcm) before 2030.

Additional LNG volumes will be handled via Europe’s large LNG infrastructure network, which consists of 31 operational LNG import terminals, one that has been mothballed, 32 LNG import terminal projects that are currently under construction or in the planning stage at the end of 2022.

After the start of the war, several countries announced new LNG terminal projects or expansions to cut reliance on Russian pipeline gas.

* For the purpose of this project, the term "Europe" refers to EU Member States, the UK, Albania, Norway, and Türkiye.

Planned Buildout of LNG Terminals to 2030

Regasification Capacity and LNG Demand Outlook

The reduction on the volumes of Russian piped gas has had parallel and opposite effects. On one side, countries have felt the need to build more LNG regasification terminals to import gas from other sources to guarantee a secure source of energy. But on the other hand, the crisis has also shown Europe's great dependency on fossil fuels and has encouraged the development of more renewable energy projects, as well as the implementation of energy efficiency methods and demand mechanisms to reduce gas consumption.

There’s a big discrepancy between the forecasted LNG demand in Europe and the new regasification capacity being built and planned. While the outlook of regasification capacity is growing, the forecasted demand remains steady.

IEEFA’s analysis and calculations forecast a 33 bcm (19%) increase in LNG demand in 2023. However, demand is expected to fall by 5% in 2024 and markedly reduce thereafter with gas demand in EU countries expected to drop at least 40% to 45% from 2019 values after implementing the measures outlined in the REPowerEU plan.

LNG Outlook by Country

LNG Terminals Utilisation Rate

The utilization rate of Europe's LNG terminals changed dramatically from 2021 to 2022. The average rate rose from 41% to 62%.

In 2022, the countries with the highest rates of unused capacity were Spain, Türkiye and the UK.

Based on GIE data, the EU’s average utilization rate in the previous ten years had been 31%.

IEEFA expects that in 2023 the utilization rate of Europe's LNG terminals will be similar to the rate in 2022, but will fall in the consecutive years due to consistent decrease in LNG demand. By 2030, IEEFA projects a 36% utilization rate of Europe's LNG Terminals, including the planned ones.

LNG Traded Volumes

In 2022, LNG imports into Europe increased 60% from the previous year.

European LNG imports peaked in December 2022 with 18.5 bcm, followed by 16.2 bcm in January 2022. The largest volume of LNG imports in 2021 occurred in March with 12.7 bcm.

In the fourth quarters of both 2021 and 2022, LNG imports peaked; the third quarter had the lowest values.

In 2021, the largest importers of LNG were Spain (20.6 bcm), France (18.2 bcm), United Kingdom (15.5 bcm) and Türkiye (14.3 bcm).

In 2022, France (35.7 bcm), Spain (29.5 bcm), and the United Kingdom (26.5 bcm) were the largest importers of LNG, followed by the Netherlands (17.1bcm), Türkiye (15.5 bcm), Italy (14.8 bcm), and Belgium (12.9 bcm).

Belgium had the biggest increase on LNG imports in 2022 compared with 2021 (136%), followed by France (96%), the Netherlands (94%), Lithuania (88%) and the UK (71%).

Monthly Data, Exports

The United States, Qatar and Russia were the biggest exporters of LNG to Europe both in 2021 and in 2022, followed by Algeria and Nigeria.

In 2021, U.S. supplied 28% of Europe’s LNG; in 2022, it jumped to 42%, representing an increase of 143% of LNG volumes supplied to Europe.

Qatar’s LNG exports to Europe increased 23% from 2021 to 2022, while Russia’s LNG exports increased 12%.

Other countries started exporting LNG to Europe in 2022, including Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Oman, UAE, Chile, China, Indonesia, Mozambique and South Korea.

Countries that increased their LNG exports to Europe included Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Norway, Australia. Spain increased its LNG re-exports to Europe.

Algeria, Nigeria, Brazil and Singapore reduced their LNG exports to Europe in 2022.

In 2022, LNG exports from the U.S. peaked in January with 7.7 bcm, Qatar’s exports peaked in July with 3 bcm, and Russia’s exports peaked in March with 2.1 bcm.

Russian LNG Flows to Europe

Russia has four existing LNG terminals, three in the Atlantic basin (Yamal LNG, Portovaya LNG and Vysotsk LNG) and Sakhalin in the Pacific basin. Yamal LNG is the biggest export terminal with 17.44 Mtpa of liquefaction capacity, followed by Sakahlin with 10.8 Mtpa of liquefaction capacity. Portovaya LNG has 1.5 Mtpa liquefaction capacity and Vysotsk LNG, 0.66 Mtpa.

Yamal LNG started operations in 2018. Its owners are Novatek (50.08%), TotalEnergies (20.02%), CNPC (20%), Silk Road Fund (9.9%). An integrated project that includes natural gas production, liquefaction and shipping. Consists of construction of a LNG plant with an output capacity of around 16.5 million tons per year, using the South Tambey Field as a resource base.

The Sakhalin-1 oil and gas development project is located off the coast of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East. It comprises three offshore fields: Chayvo field, which came online in October 2005, followed by the Odoptu and Arkutun-Dagi fields in 2010 and 2015. The partners are ExxonMobil (30%), SODECO (30%), ONGC Videsh (20%), and Rosneft (20%). It was operated by Exxon Neftegas (ENL), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil that holds a 30% participating interest, but Russian authorities temporarily re-nationalised the Sakhalin 1 oil and gas project in October 2022. There has been talk in the past of building an LNG liquefaction plant.

Sakhalin-2 is the world’s largest integrated oil and gas project and Russia’s first LNG plant. It involves the development of two large offshore fields: Piltun-Astokhskoye (mostly oil) and Lunskoye (mostly gas). Shaklin-2 started operations in 2009. It’s owned by Gazprom (50%), Mitsubishi (10%), Sakhalinskaya Energiya OOO (27.5%) and Mitsui (12.5%).

Portovaya LNG started exporting LNG in September 2022 and serves as a floating storage unit for the project, which obtains feedgas from Russia’s Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS), close to the Portovaya Compressor Station that pushes gas through Nord Stream I. It’s owned by Gazprom.

Vysotsk LNG started operations in 2018 and is co-owned by Novatek (51%) and Cryogas (49%). Novatek is a public company with shares traded on the London and Moscow stock exchanges. The major shareholders of Novatek are Leonid Michelson, the CEO, who holds about 24.76% of the shares. Gennady Timchenko owns 23.49%, France's TotalEnergies has 19.4%, and Gazprom owns 9.99%.

LNG Imports from Russia, 2021-2022

While Russian piped gas exports to Europe have fallen, Russian LNG exports to Europe have been increasing. Europe is aware that the lack of diversification of energy suppliers for the last two decades greatly increased the dependency on Russian gas. LNG regasification terminals have been built with the aim of importing LNG from countries around the globe, but Europe continues depending on Russian gas that is imported as a liquid.

Russian LNG imports increased 12% in 2022 (20.2 bcm) in comparison with 2021 (18.0 bcm). Imported Russian LNG increased 136% between the third quarters of 2021 and 2022.

Monthly Data, 2022

In 2021, the UK was the third-largest importer of Russian LNG (18.7%). Last year, however, imports were reduced by 85% after an April 2022 halt. France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands continued being among the largest importers of Russian LNG in 2022.

In 2022, Belgium and France increased its Russian LNG imports by 58% over the previous year, and Spain by 50%. Although the Netherlands continued importing Russian LNG in 2022, its imports fell by 10%. The four countries accounted for 90% of all Russian LNG imports in 2022; in 2021, they accounted for 71%.

Greece, Italy and Türkiye began importing Russian LNG in 2022. Croatia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK reduced Russian LNG imports.

LNG Flows by Terminal

Yamal LNG has been the biggest source of Russian LNG exported to Europe.

In 2022, Yamal LNG exported cargoes to Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Türkiye and the UK (until March 2022).

Both in 2021 and 2022, Vysotsk LNG exported volumes to Belgium, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Portovaya LNG has exported cargoes to Greece and Türkiye since the end of 2022.

Yamal exported great volumes of LNG in 2022 to French Montoir-de-Bretagne LNG (5.29 bcm), Belgian Zeebrugge LNG (2.81 bcm), Dutch Gate LNG (2.39 bcm), French Dunkirk (2.08 bcm) and six operational LNG terminals in Spain (4.91 bcm).

From 2021 to 2022, Montoir-de-Bretagne LNG increased its imports of Yamal LNG by 111%. The Spanish LNG terminals also increased their imports: 299% Sagunto, 149% Huelva and 26% Mugardos, while Bahia de Bizkaia reduced imports by 3%. Barcelona and Cartagena changed from not importing Russian LNG in 2021 to each importing 0.41 bcm. And Zeebrugge LNG increased its imports from Yamal LNG by 59%.  

In 2022, Vysotsk exported its greatest volumes of LNG to Zeebrugge in Belgium (0.36 bcm), followed by Tornio in Finland (0.19 bcm).

Portovaya LNG began exporting cargoes in September 2022 to Revithoussa in Greece (0.2 bcm) and in October 2022 to Marmara Ereglisi in Türkiye (0.2 bcm).

Russian LNG Transshipments

Yamal LNG cargoes have been transshipped and exported to European and non-European markets via four LNG terminals: Dutch Gate LNG terminal (no transshipment from February 2021 onwards), French Montoir-de-Bretagne LNG terminal, Russian Murmansk LNG terminal and Belgian Zeebrugge LNG terminal.

Arctic Transshipment LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Novatek, is the owner and operator of two LNG transshipment terminals in the Murmansk and Kamchatka regions of Russia. The terminals are designed to ensure efficient transportation of LNG from Arctic LNG 2 and other Novatek projects by transshipment from Arc7 ice-rated LNG tankers to conventional vessels. Novatek completed the first ship-to-ship LNG transshipment in the Murmansk region in November 2020.

In 2019, a LNG storage tank with a capacity of 180 000 cubic meters of LNG and associated process facilities were built at Zeebrugge LNG terminal in Belgium to serve a 20-year trans-shipment contract with Yamal LNG. The aim is to transship LNG transported by ice-breaker LNG carriers from the new production terminal in Sabetta, Yamal, to conventional LNG carriers export to Asian and other markets, as well as some European customers.

Russian LNG transshipment volumes increased 48% from 2021 (5.1 bcm) to 2022 (7.5 bcm), mainly due to cargoes sent to non-European markets. The biggest increase occurred at Montoir-de-Bretagne (84%), followed by Murmansk (73%) and Zeebrugge (35%). But in 2022, 57% of all the Russian LNG being transshipped occurred at Zeebrugge with 4.3 bcm, followed by Montoir-de-Bretagne and Murmansk with 1.6 bcm each, with none at Gate LNG. If considering only European terminals, Zeebrugge handled 72% of all Russian LNG transshipments in 2022.

Three-quarters of the total Russian LNG being transshipped in 2021 were exported to markets outside Europe; in 2022, the percentage increased to 82%. Zeebrugge has reported the greatest volumes of transshipped LNG that has been sent to non-European customers: 91% in 2021 and 93% in 2022. Volumes at Montoir-de-Bretagne increased from 33% in 2021 to 63% in 2022.

The European countries that imported volumes of transshipped Russian LNG in 2022 were Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Türkiye and UK (until March 2022).

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Ana Maria Jaller-Makarewicz is an energy analyst for IEEFA’s Europe team. Her research focuses on topics related to gas and LNG, as well as other relevant European energy issues.

Sofia Russi is responsible for strengthening and amplifying the voice of IEEFA’s team in Europe and disseminating expert research to the media and key stakeholders.

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