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Europe’s LNG imports overtake pipeline gas

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Pipelines,

Europe’s LNG imports surpassed those coming to the continent via pipelines for the first time last year, according to data from the Energy Institute.

The shift signals that the continent is rebuilding its energy infrastructure quickly while breaking ties with Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. The reversal is even more meaningful since global gas production remained relatively constant in 2022, compared with a year earlier, the EI’s annual statistical review of world energy shows.

Europe was a premium market, which helped lure more LNG to its shores and fill the gaps left by dwindled Russian pipeline supply. That shift led to record prices and volatility in gas markets, as well as persistent inflation across the continent, depressing industrial activity amid an economic slowdown.

The war in Ukraine upended “assumptions about supply around the world,” said Nick Wayth, the London-based institute’s CEO. The shifts “precipitated a price crisis and profound cost-of-living pressures across many economies.”

During the year, European nations swiftly installed more import terminals for the super-chilled fuel, with Germany joining the importers’ club for the first time. The region’s utilities signed accords to bring in more LNG from producers such as the US, and there was a pivot toward renewable sources such as wind and solar.

European pipeline gas imports last year were about 151 billion m3, compared with 232 billion a year earlier, according to the statistical review. The 35% y/y drop contrasts with LNG imports, which increased to 170 billion m3 in 2022 from 108 billion m3 a year earlier.


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