The UK is about to receive liquefied natural gas from far-off Australia for the first time in at least six years, highlighting the European region’s desperation in grappling with its worst energy crisis in decades.
The LNG tanker Attalos is on its way to the UK with a cargo that originated at Australia’s North West Shelf project, according to energy intelligence firm Kpler. The vessel will arrive at the Isle of Grain terminal east of London on Aug. 22, ship-tracking data compiled Bloomberg show.
The UK and continental Europe typically import LNG from nations such as Qatar, the US and even Peru, on the western side of South America. Deliveries from the Asia-Pacific region are rare because of the economics of lengthy journeys and usually high demand from Asian buyers. Australia hasn’t shipped a single observed LNG cargo to Europe in Bloomberg tracking going back to 2016.
While Britain’s gas grid is separate from the continent’s network, the two are closely linked via pipelines. The UK has little domestic storage and generally sends any excess gas through its links to the European Union. This year, European and UK benchmark gas prices have surged, with the market tightening in recent weeks as Russia curbs supplies to the EU and a heat wave scorches the region.
China demand, meanwhile, has remained muted, encouraging traders and producers to point all available global supply to higher-priced European markets.
The complex journey from Australia to the UK involved a ship-to-ship transfer in Malaysia, according to Mathew Ang, an analyst at Kpler.
Attalos received a partial LNG cargo from the Patris vessel in Malaysia in July, Ang said. Before that, the Patris loaded at Australia’s North West Shelf, where BP Plc has capacity, he said. It delivered the rest of the cargo in South Korea.
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