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Europe Set To Raise LNG Imports As Regasification Capacity Jumps

The EU is boosting its LNG import capacity and is ready to welcome even more LNG cargoes this year and in the coming years, Maros Sefcovic, European Commission Vice President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, said on Thursday.    

The EU will soon have 35 LNG regasification terminals, up from 27 currently, and the regasification capacity is set to increase to 227 bcm from 178 bcm, Sefcovic tweeted today after holding what he described as a "productive" virtual meeting with international gas suppliers. The EU is getting ready for more LNG by reinforcing its import capacity infrastructure, Sefcovic said. 

Over the past year, Europe has attracted a lot of LNG supply due to the sky-high prices and lackluster demand in Asia, including in China. Europe continues to attract more than half of all U.S. LNG exports, for example, despite the fact that gas prices in Europe have recently slumped to an 18-month low.

Europe's biggest economy, Germany, plans to have as much as 70.7 million tons per year of LNG import capacity by 2030, which will make it the fourth-largest LNG import capacity holder in the world, Argus reported last month, citing plans by the German economy ministry and RWE.

Germany may end up using less LNG import capacity than it has planned to roll out this decade, but better safe than sorry, the chief executive of the top German utility, RWE, said in an interview with German business magazines Der Stern and Capital.

"It may be the case that the LNG terminals are not fully utilized. But you need them as an insurance premium," RWE's CEO Markus Krebber said in the interview published on Wednesday.

However, the race to ensure supply for next winter hasn't even started in earnest yet. Prices are set to hold higher than before the Russian invasion of Ukraine through the summer as Europe will face stiffer competition from Asia for LNG supply, analysts say.  

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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