(Bloomberg) -- For the first time, the US is supplying more natural gas to Europe than Russia sends by pipelines, according to the International Energy Agency.
Europe is seeking alternatives such as US liquefied natural gas to Russian supplies after Gazprom PJSC slashed shipments through Nord Stream, its biggest pipeline to Europe, and cut off shipments to countries that didn’t comply with new payment terms. Russia met more than a third of the European Union’s gas demand last year.
“Russia’s recent steep cuts in natural gas flows to the EU mean this is the first month in history in which the EU has imported more gas via LNG from the US than via pipeline from Russia,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a tweet. “The drop in Russian supply calls for efforts to reduce EU demand to prepare for a tough winter.”
The increase in US LNG imports comes as the nation ramps up output of the super-chilled fuel after starting exports from the Gulf Coast in 2016, transforming global energy trade. US shipments remain strong even after a fire at the Freeport LNG plant in Texas, which has been shut for prolonged repairs.
After Russia’s war on Ukraine, the EU in March agreed on an additional 15 billion cubic meters of US LNG this year in a bid to displace Russian gas. In an ambitious target, the bloc has sought to replace a third of Russian gas with LNG from various sources this year.
Russia ships about 150 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via pipelines every year, and another 14 billion to 18 billion cubic meters of LNG.
Combined with Russian LNG, which keeps arriving in Europe except for the UK, the country may still be a bigger overall gas supplier to Europe than the US. In 2021, Russia was the third-biggest supplier of LNG to Europe, after the US and Qatar and ahead of Algeria, according to BP Plc’s annual statistical review of world energy.
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