May 02 2022
The number of LNG ships arriving into Europe rose more than 20% in April compared with the previous month, as continued uncertainty about Russian pipeline gas supplies amid the war in Ukraine lured cargoes to the region.
There were 114 LNG ships that arrived in Europe in April, versus 94 in the previous month, vessel-tracking data from S&P Global's cFlow trade-flow analytics software showed. The Mediterranean saw the biggest increase, a rise of 24.4%, while Northwest Europe saw a month-on-month growth of 18.4%.
In April, Spain imported the largest number of LNG ships in the Mediterranean. It imported 35 ships, an increase of 25% from 25 ships in March. Italy also increased the number of LNG ships imported by 25%; its imports grew to 15 in April, from 12 in the previous month.
In Northwest Europe, France imported the largest number of LNG ships, 26 in April compared with 24 in March, an increase of 8.3%. The UK experienced the highest growth over the same period, where the number of ships increased to 19 from 13, a rise of 46.2%.
Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on Feb. 24, European LNG outright prices increased significantly in March. They reached their highest level on March 8 at $60.925/MMBtu for DES NWE and have been on a downward trend since then, but are still up sharply from the same time a year ago.
Higher prices in Europe attracted an increased flow of LNG cargoes resulting in limited slot availability across the continent. For example, Fos Cavou and Fos Tonkin showed zero receiving capacity until the end of 2022 in reports by Fosmax LNG, the company that manages the two French regasification. Recently, some slots in NWE were heard to be opening up, according to market participants.
Lower LNG prices in April followed a higher number of LNG ship arrivals. According to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights, the monthly average for April DES NWE was $31.24/MMBtu, down from $37.33/MMBtu in March. The increase in LNG prices for DES NWE is even more significant year on year as the monthly average for LNG prices was $6.229/MMBtu in April 2021.
The higher inflow of LNG into Europe also contributed to the upward trend in European gas inventories which were at 34.6% in the latest reading of Gas Infrastructure Europe, up from 26.3% at the end of March.