According to preliminary data from Refinitiv, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) declined by 10% in June, dropping to 6.82 million tons. This decrease can be attributed to plant maintenance and a decrease in demand from the European Union (EU). The report explains that planned outages at two major suppliers affected US LNG production. Additionally, a warmer-than-normal winter led to a build-up of gas inventories and lower prices.
An analyst from Rystad Energy, Lu Ming Pang, noted that gas supplies to US plants in the last week of June were lower than the May average due to planned maintenance. The supplies reached 10.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), compared to the May average of 12.3 bcfd. These factors contributed to the overall decline in US LNG exports for the month.
The report also highlights that the EU’s overall LNG imports were lower in June, ranging between 13.2 bcfd and 14.5 bcfd. This can be attributed to the fact that countries had already met their storage goals and were likely nearing their full capacity. Data revealed that the EU’s share of US exports in June was 47%, a decrease from 60% in the previous month and 71% in April. Asia accounted for 27% of the total in June, up from 14% in May, while Latin America received 17% of the total LNG exports.
Despite the decline, June’s 6.82 million tons of US LNG exports were higher than the previous year when shipments were constrained by a fire and outage at the Freeport LNG, the second-largest US LNG producer. Analysts predict that exports could increase in the current quarter if demand remains steady and as gas flows to US plants increase after the completion of maintenance.
It is worth noting that the EU’s demand for LNG surged last year due to the conflict in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions against Russia, which was the EU’s primary energy supplier at the time. As a result, the EU transitioned from Russian pipeline gas to LNG shipments, primarily from the US and Qatar. However, the EU’s increased LNG imports have drawn criticism for diverting supplies away from Asia, where demand for LNG has been high.
In conclusion, US LNG exports declined by 10% in June due to plant maintenance and a decrease in EU demand. The decrease can be attributed to planned outages at major suppliers and a build-up of gas inventories caused by a warmer-than-normal winter. While EU demand for LNG has decreased, the overall exports in June were higher compared to the previous year. Analysts remain hopeful that exports will rebound in the current quarter as gas flows increase and demand remains steady.