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Spain Boosts LNG Port Capabilities But Russian Gas Is In The Mix

Spanish natural gas grid operator Enagas has said that the volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels loaded in Spain and setting sail for Europe doubled in 2022, year-on-year, with a total of 250 ships loading LNG in Spain.

According to Enagas Chief Executive Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri, "Our plants are contributing very significantly to the energy security of other nations and from the Barcelona plant, especially for Italy,” Enagas CEO Arturo Aizpiri told reporters, as cited by Reuters

The announcement was made on Thursday at the unveiling of a new platform at Enegas’ Barcelona port regasification plant, which is expected to lead to an additional uptick in LNG traffic to Europe.

Spain boasts six LNG terminals to supply Europe, with a seventh set to become operational in a matter of weeks.

While Europe LNG loadings soared in 2022, the origins of some of that natural gas remain an issue for Europe.

While Germany is trying to curb imports of Russian LNG, Spanish media reports indicate that while loadings in Spain have doubled year-on-year, the country has also increased its imports of Russian LNG by 45% to offset natural gas shortages from Algeria due to the closure of the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline in the fall of 2021.

According to El Periódico de la Energía, cited by Spanish news outlets, as of December 2022, Algeria’s share of natural gas supply to Spain has declined from 42.7% to 23.8% and both U.S. and Russian LNG have filled in that gap. While the U.S. share of this has been higher, Russia now represents Spain’s fourth-largest supplier.

Reuters reported earlier this week that Refinitiv Eikon data now shows that Russia supplied Europe with approximately 17  million tonnes of LNG in 2022–a 20% increase over the previous year and representing a partial offset of the decline in Russian piped gas imports.

The Enagas announcement also comes a day after the European Union’s energy regulator (ACER) launched its first assessment of LNG pricing ahead of a planned EU gas market correction mechanism that will include a price cap. On Wednesday, ACER published its first daily MCM reference price. The MCM will launch on February 15 and will be used to determine whether a price cap on Russian LNG is necessary. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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