Natural gas storage inventories in Europe are at record-high levels at the end of winter, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a statement.
'European natural gas storage inventories as of March 1, 2020, were 60% full -- the highest ever recorded level for the start of March, according to Gas Storage Europe's Aggregated Gas Storage Inventory (AGSI+),' the statement said on Tuesday.
'Europe's natural gas storage capacity utilization for the first day of March has typically been 38%, based on the previous five years; in 2020, natural gas stocks in Europe started March at 60% of capacity,' it added.
Natural gas stock levels in the months of both January and February were the highest ever recorded for those months, according to the EIA.
This came as a result of a mild winter, which reduced demand for residential and commercial heating and put a limit on demand. It was also due to increasing natural gas imports by pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
LNG imports of Europe also set monthly records of 14 billion cubic feet (396.5 million cubic meters) per day in December 2019 and February 2020.
The EIA said Russia and the U.S. increased their LNG exports to Europe in 2019 by an estimated 1.4 billion cubic feet (39.6 million cubic meters) per day and 1.5 billion cubic feet (42.5 million cubic meters) per day respectively, compared with the previous year.
'The U.S. has been the largest LNG supplier to Europe since November 2019,' the statement said.
In February 2020, Europe's LNG imports from the U.S. reached a new record high level of 5.1 billion cubic feet (144. million cubic meters) per day, nearly doubling the volume of Europe’s second-largest supplier Qatar, according to the EIA.
By Ovunc Kutlu