Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 26
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
New supplies of LNG from the US will expand diversification of energy sources in markets abroad, enhance competition, and in several cases, notably in Europe, substantially improve energy security, the report of Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center and Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center said.
"The benefits LNG can provide for Europe's energy security could help it compete with pipeline gas in Europe from Russia, Europe's dominant supplier," said the "Surging Liquefied Natural Gas Trade" report, obtained by Trend.
European customers have committed to purchasing US LNG volumes equivalent to 30 percent of the capacity of the first four new LNG export terminals, the report said referring to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
This amounts to about 20 billion cubic meters per year.
Europe's future natural gas strategy and goals complement plans in the United States to export LNG, the report said.
Two main pillars of Europe's gas strategy are diversified supplies and stronger integration of European markets and infrastructure. Connecting national pipeline networks in the Baltic, Central and Eastern Europe with Western Europe is especially important because countries in these regions depend on Russian gas and lack adequate links to import gas from other sources in the event of a cutoff, according to the report.
In 2014, the EU imported 45 billion cubic meters of LNG, or 13.5 percent of its total gas imports, down from 14 percent in 2013 and 19 percent in 2012, as pipeline prices became more competitive.
The potential for higher LNG imports to Europe is immense, according to the report. Total capacity to import LNG into the EU is 197 billion cubic meter, leaving 152 bcm of existing unused re-gasification capacity for additional imports.
"This unused capacity could easily accommodate much of the new US LNG export capacity that will be installed over the next five to ten years," the report said. "Moreover, US LNG would be a new source of gas for Europe, helping to diversify its gas supply and provide additional competition and security."
Currently, Europe imports LNG primarily from Qatar, Algeria, and Nigeria.