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Making History: U.S. LNG Outpaces Russian Natural Gas Via Pipeline in Europe

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  • Jul 19, 2022

The United States made history last month: For the first time ever, the European Union is getting more liquefied natural gas from the United States than the natural gas it receives from Russia via pipeline.

European reliance on the United States for energy relief has increased ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as many countries have made an effort to cut ties with the powerhouse country to apply pressure in an effective manner. However, transitioning away from Russian resources has put a strain on many and has caused European countries to scramble to find alternative suppliers.

In March, President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the United States would commit to increasing LNG shipments to the E.U., with the president explaining:

“The United States, together with our international partners, they’re going to — we’re going to work to ensure an additional 15 — one-five — 15 billion cubic meters of liquified natural gas — LNG — for Europe this year… To accomplish this, the European Commission is going to work with the member states to store gas across the continent, to build more infrastructure to receive LNG, and to take steps to increase the efficiency of gas.”

In April, Europe imported a record-setting 16.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas on average daily, according to the Energy Information Administration, with the United States accounting for about half of the supply. In fact, in April, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Poland accounted for 54.1 percent of total U.S. LNG exports – and the numbers have continued climbing since then.

As International Energy Agency Director Fatih Birol explained this week, the increased supply from the United States is helping Europe decrease its reliance on Russian natural gas:

Big Impact In A Short Time Frame

The fact that the United States is now supplying more natural gas to Europe via LNG than Russia is through its extensive pipeline network is especially amazing considering that America has only been exporting LNG in large quantities since 2016.

In fact, less than 20 years ago Time ran an article with the headline “Why U.S. Is Running Out of Gas,” explaining:

“This comes at a time when Americans are heading into their first big energy squeeze since the 1970s: a shortage of natural gas, the invisible resource used to heat homes, fuel kitchen appliances, generate electricity and manufacture many of the chemicals we use.”

But with the shale revolution boosting domestic production and enabling the United States to meet its own natural gas demands while also being able to increase the global supply, a lot has changed in a short amount of time. In fact, back in December, the United States became the world’s largest exporter of LNG. According to Bloomberg:

“Output from American facilities edged above Qatar in December due largely to a jump in exports from the Sabine Pass and Freeport facilities, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.”

As the nation maintains its title, global consumers rely on American production to fuel their economies. With advanced technologies and innovation, U.S. natural gas continues to reduce emissions, transform global markets and provide vital energy security to the world.

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