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Expensive gas ≠ more LNG

Seb Kennedy's picture
Founding Editor Energy Flux newsletter

I am professional energy journalist, writer and editor who has been chronicling the renewables and fossil fuel energy sectors since 2008.  I am passionate about the energy transition, so much so...

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  • May 17, 2022
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They say the cure for high prices is high prices. The spectacular global rally in natural gas prices since last summer, which was put on a war footing with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has duly reignited investor interest in liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. However, that economic maxim holds true only if the extra supply the market is calling for can be brought online – and there are signs that runaway cost inflation could undermine efforts to build new US LNG export projects intended to supply gas-shocked Europe.

European wholesale natural gas prices have come off recent highs thanks to the continued supply of Russian pipeline flows and strong LNG imports from the US and other global suppliers. But the halt of Russian gas to Poland and Bulgaria on 27 April and recent threats of reduced flows to Germany cast doubt on how long that will continue. Gas hub prices (which are diverging across the UK and EU due to unequal access to LNG) remain unseasonably elevated as the market struggles to price in more potential disruption as the war drags on.

The post-invasion ‘war premium’ on European gas hubs worked, to the extent that it lured spot cargoes of LNG away from supposedly ‘premium’ markets in Asia. Yet there simply isn’t enough spare uncontracted LNG swilling around the global market to satisfy European winter demand in the event that Russian flows are more widely banned or halted. Cue much speculation that Europe plans to go on an almighty buying spree of future LNG from unbuilt US projects.

 

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Walid Matar's picture
Walid Matar on May 20, 2022

If the marginal revenue is higher than the marginal cost in the long-run, suppliers will invest to produce more natural gas. Those additional supplies will come in months to years, depending on the nature of investment. 

I just read today that Qatar will be able to deliver more LNG to Germany in 2024: 

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/germany-could-receive-lng-qatar-062702310...

 

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