Natural Gas In the News: Europe's LNG import capacity set to expand by one-third by end of 2024

Natural Gas In the News: Europe's LNG import capacity set to expand by one-third by end of 2024

We estimate that the capacity of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals (called regasification terminals) in the European Union (EU?27) and the UK will expand by approximately 5.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by the end of next year. This capacity will expand by another 1.5 Bcf/d by the end of 2024, for a total of 6.8 Bcf/d of new LNG regasification capacity added in the region (34% expansion) compared with 2021.

LNG regasification capacity in the EU-27 and the UK remained relatively stable and expanded modestly in the last 10 years, by 2.8 Bcf/d (16%), from 17.5 Bcf/d in 2012 to 20.2 Bcf/d at the end of 2021, according to data from the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL). However, since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the resulting significant reduction in natural gas pipeline imports from Russia, European countries have reactivated development of previously dormant regasification projects and have started development of new projects.

Many of the new regasification projects in Europe can be developed relatively quickly by chartering Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs) and building pipelines to transport regasified natural gas to connecting pipelines onshore. Other EU regasification projects involve expanding capacity at existing terminals and implementing upgrades to increase existing terminals' throughput.

Between January and November 2022, an estimated 1.7 Bcf/d of new and expanded LNG regasification capacity was added in Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, and Germany. The new EemsEnergy terminal in the Netherlands (0.8 Bcf/d capacity) consists of two FSRU vessels, and received its first import cargo in September 2022. A new FSRU terminal at Wilhelmshaven Port in Germany (0.7 Bcf/d capacity) was completed in November 2022.

By the end of 2023, LNG regasification terminals that are currently under construction in Germany, Poland, France, Finland, Estonia, Italy, and Greece will add 3.5 Bcf/d of new capacity:

In Germany, three FSRU terminals with a combined regasification capacity of 1.4 Bcf/d are being developed at Lubmin, Brunsbuttel, and Wilhelmshaven. Two terminals (at Lubmin and Brunsbuttel) are expected to start operations this winter, and the second terminal at Wilhelmshaven is expected online in 2023. LNG imports at these terminals are expected to partially replace natural gas imports by pipeline from Russia, which averaged 4.6 Bcf/d from January through July 2022.
In Poland, the existing LNG regasification terminal at ?winouj?cie will complete expansion of 0.2 Bcf/d to reach a total capacity of 0.8 Bcf/d.
In France, the FSRU vessel Cape Anne (capacity 0.4 Bcf/d) at Le Havre port is expected to start operations in the fall of 2023.
Finland and Estonia are jointly developing an FSRU terminal (capacity 0.5 Bcf/d), which will be located in the Finnish port of Inkoo. The terminal is expected online this winter.
In Italy, a new FSRU terminal is being developed near Port of Piombino, which will add 0.5 Bcf/d of capacity and will likely come online in spring 2023.
In Greece, an FSRU vessel (capacity 0.5 Bcf/d) at Alexandroupolis port is expected online by the end of 2023.