First Ever U.S. LNG Cargo Set Sail For Northwest Europe

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By Tsvetana Paraskova, Oilprice.com

The first U.S. LNG shipment to Europe will come amid maintenance of some supply facilities in Europe, so it does not necessarily mean that the U.S. is starting to send LNG supplies to Northwest Europe en masse, Platts Analytics reported on Monday.

The Arctic Discoverer, chartered by Statoil, is expected into Gate terminal in the Netherlands on June 7, Platts said.

According to MarineTraffic, Arctic Discoverer set sail from Sabine Pass in the U.S. on May 21, and is expected to arrive at the Rotterdam terminal on June 7.

Traders who spoke to Platts said that the cargo from the U.S. was probably a replacement cargo for Statoil, because the Norwegian major’s LNG facility at Snohvit is shut for maintenance between May 12 and June 18, while Statoil has a delivery obligation to supply LNG to Gate.

The U.S. LNG cargo is also expected to arrive a week before the UK-Belgium gas Interconnector is expected to shut down for planned annual maintenance between June 14 and June 29.

Even if it may not be a signal that a flurry of U.S. LNG cargoes will start flowing into Northwest Europe, the first U.S. LNG cargo is still a landmark event in the region dominated by supplies from Norway and Russia’s Gazprom. The Russian giant says that its share of Europe’s gas consumption grew to a record high of 34 percent in 2016.

In another first for a U.S. LNG cargo into Europe—the first to a country from Central and Eastern Europe—Cheniere Energy is expected to deliver the first U.S. cargo to Poland in the first half of June, under a deal with Polish Oil & Gas Company (PGNiG), as Poland is trying to diversify its gas supply away from Russia.

According to the EIA, the U.S. is set to become a net exporter of natural gas on an average annual basis by 2018, due to declining pipeline imports, growing pipeline exports, and increasing LNG exports. By 2021, four LNG export facilities that are currently under construction are set to be completed.

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