Europe replaced Asia as the top destination for LNG exports from the United States in the first quarter of 2022 while pipeline gas exports to Mexico continued to grow, according to the latest trade scorecard compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy’s gas regulation division.

France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the Netherlands combined imported 622.5 Bcf, or 60% of a total 1.03 Tcf of liquefied natural gas shipped from U.S. export terminals in 315 cargoes, the report showed.

The jump in shipments crossing the Atlantic came in response to steep price increases as Russian pipeline deliveries declined and the continent has looked to diversify supplies that have been jeopardized by the war in Ukraine. 

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U.S. LNG prices in 1Q2022 averaged $8.35/MMBtu in the United Kingdom, $8.37 in the Netherlands, $8.63 in Spain, $9.53 in France and $9.61 in Turkey, the DOE report said.

Ranked by volumes of LNG imports from the United States, France snagged the top spot at 154.1 Bcf, followed by Spain at 148 Bcf, the United Kingdom 142.2 Bcf, Turkey 105.4 Bcf and the Netherlands 72.8 Bcf.

The American LNG flow across the Atlantic also reached, in smaller volumes, Greece, Croatia, Lithuania, Italy, Malta and Poland, according to DOE records.

European buyers replaced 2021’s top customers for U.S. LNG: South Korea, China and Japan. The biggest Asian importer of American cargoes in 1Q2022, South Korea, ranked sixth in volume at 68.6 Bcf.

With the winter season nearing, however, Asian prices are on the rise in a bid to attract more U.S. LNG to the region. In the northeastern stretches of Asia, in particular, there are signs cargo arrivals to Asia now could be on the rise, with Japanese and Korean firms boosting their purchasing.

The unquenchable thirst for LNG helped the super-chilled fuel lead growth in North America in international gas trade during the quarter. The 1.03 Tcf of overseas cargoes topped the 1Q2021 total of 834.4 Bcf by 24%, DOE data showed.

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In the continental trade via pipelines, U.S exports to Mexico grew by 1% to 498.6 Bcf, or 5.5 Bcf/d, but prices fell by 50% to $4.80. The comparable period in 2021 included Winter Storm Uri, which caused U.S. and Mexico gas prices to surge in February of last year.

Rio Grande City, TX, was the leading point of gas exports to Mexico by volume during the quarter at 138.3 Bcf, followed by Brownsville, TX, at 73.7 Bcf. The two locations combined to account for 42.5% of gas exports to Mexico.

Quarterly U.S. exports to Canada increased year/year by 2% to 259.9 Bcf, or 2.9 Bcf/d, according to the DOE report. Prices fetched by the northbound deliveries gained 68% to $5.40. 

Canadian exports to the United States grew by 3% to 830.4 Bcf, or 9.2 Bcf/d, in 1Q2022 compared to the same period last year. Prices at the Canadian border gained 45% to $5.19/MMBtu.