(Montel) LNG imports to Europe and Turkey reached the fourth highest monthly volume on record in May at 15.5bcm, led by France and the UK, preliminary Kpler ship tracking data showed on Thursday.
Imports during May fell 5.5% month on month to become fourth highest after the record 17.8bcm in December, 16.4bcm in April and 16.1bcm in January.
May’s LNG imports were 11% higher than the same period last year, with at least 15bcm per month imported since November 2022.
In the first five months of the year, total LNG imports to the region jumped 9% year on year to 78bcm on the back of increased regasification capacity, mostly in Germany and the Netherlands, amid tepid demand from Asia due to sluggish Chinese economic growth.
French imports reached almost 2.8bcm in May as it replenished underground storage reserves depleted in March during almost a month of crippling strikes over a pension reform that hindered terminals.
UK imports reached 2.6bcm as prices in the Dutch TTF hub, Europe’s largest, continue to offer a premium on the UK’s NBP equivalents.
Europe has turned to LNG as its single biggest source of gas supply to offset slashed pipeline supplies from Russia amid the war in Ukraine and ensuing sanctions.
European LNG imports are set to remain robust at current price levels of EUR 22-32/MWh, but the region risks losing supply to Asia if prices fall further, Montel reported on Wednesday.
The US remains Europe’s top LNG supplier, with 7.2bcm or almost 47% of the total imported in May, its highest share so far in 2023. The country has been the main supplier of the liquid fuel since October 2021.
Qatar was the region’s second biggest supplier in May, delivering more than 2.1bcm, or 13.7% of last month’s total, the data showed.
Russia was the third biggest supplier, with almost 2.1bcm, or 13.4% of the total, despite EU efforts to wean itself off the country’s energy.