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BRUSSELS, Nov 12 (Reuters) – The United States is likely to export 10-15 billion cubic meters (bcm) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year to Europe from 2020, although it will ship much more to Asian markets, a report by Wood Mackenzie showed.
The discovery of vast amounts of shale gas has transformed the United States from a gas importer into a potential exporter, with its first shipments of super-cooled gas expected from the middle of this decade.
The lion’s share of the new U.S. exports are likely to go to Asia to take advantage of higher prices, the report said. LNG currently trades above $17 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) in Asia, compared with around $10.50 per mmBtu in Europe.
Wood Mackenzie said most European utility gas buyers see their future supply prospects as adequate already due to forecasts for weak demand growth and to the likelihood of additional gas supplies via pipelines.
A number of global companies with a large LNG portfolio and a presence in Europe are nevertheless likely to ship U.S. LNG to European markets to offload spare volumes, Wood Mackenzie said.
“We believe Europe will receive significant volumes of U.S. LNG, over 10 mmtpa post-2020. However, most of this will likely be the result of global LNG dynamics, and flows will be volatile in nature,” said Massimo Di Odoardo, Wood Mackenzie’s principal analyst for European gas research.
Europe-based companies such as Centrica and GDF Suez have already signed deals to buy U.S. LNG.
Wood Mackenzie expected spare U.S. LNG cargoes to head to more liquid European markets, such as the Netherlands and Britain, when high market prices offer opportunities. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Jane Baird)
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