Looking to replace Russia, Europe doesn't use LNG terminals at full capacity

Last year, 380 million tons of LNG traded in the global market. About 80 million tons of this is purchased by Europe

Murat Temizer  | 28.03.2022 - Update : 01.04.2022
Looking to replace Russia, Europe doesn't use LNG terminals at full capacity


Europe, which has turned to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) alternative to reduce its natural gas dependence on Russia, is using its existing LNG terminals at half capacity.

Last year, 380 million tons of LNG were in trade in the global market, with about 80 million tons of this was purchased by Europe.

In the global market, %70 of LNG is exported under long-term contracts. Therefore, the remaining %30 LNG is sold to the country with the highest bid in the spot market. Many European countries that have not actively used LNG until now are seriously considering this option.

According to the information compiled by the Anadolu Agency from the International Gas Association and Gas Infrastructure Europe data, Turkiye and Israel were also included in the list in which LNG terminals were examined.

When Turkiye's LNG terminals are included, Europe, which has a total of 28 LNG import terminals, uses these terminals at half capacity. Spain is listed as the country with the most LNG terminals in Europe, with six terminals with an annual capacity of 43.8 million tons.

The UK, which has 3 LNG terminals with an annual capacity of 38.1 million tons, is followed by France with 4 LNG terminals with a capacity of 25 million tons and Italy with an import capacity of 11 million tons with three terminals.

While Turkiye has 2 LNG import terminals, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands and Poland each have one. In addition, Turkiye purchases LNG through two floating terminals. Also, Israel, Lithuania and Croatia have one floating terminal each.

In addition, small-scale terminals in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Malta are not included in the list of LNG import terminals.

Europe does not use LNG terminals at full capacity

Terminals in Europe currently have an annual LNG purchase capacity of close to 150 million tons. However, Europe, which imported 85 million tons of LNG in 2019, bought 82 million LNG in 2020.

Europe, which meets a quarter of its gas needs as LNG, uses just over half of its import capacity. This means that there is about 70-75 million tons of spare capacity.

According to the calculations, Spain uses %37 of its capacity, the UK %38, Italy %82, the Netherlands %77, Belgium %90, France %66, Portugal %70 and Greece %49.

The annual natural gas need of EU countries varies between 340-350 billion cubic meters in total. Last year, EU countries imported 140 billion cubic meters of gas and 15 billion cubic meters of gas as LNG from Russia through pipelines.

About %40 of the EU's total gas consumption in 2021 came from Russia.

New terminals planned

Europe plans to build 26 new LNG terminals in the coming period to diversify its natural gas supply.

Germany, which does not currently have any LNG terminals, will build 2 LNG terminals. France and Spain will add five units to their existing LNG terminals. Ireland 3, Estonia 2, Croatia, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Ukraine, Malta and the United Kingdom will each build 1 LNG terminal.

Many LNG projects were planned in previous years but could not get enough investment, but after the war between Russia and Ukraine, LNG is expected to be on the agenda more in the coming period.

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