Since July 2018, cumulative EU imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. have increased by 272%, the European Commission (EC) announced on Thursday.
"With a share of 12.6% of EU-LNG imports in 2019 so far, the U.S. is Europe's third biggest supplier of LNG, while Europe has emerged the primary destination of the U.S. LNG in January to February this year ahead of Asia," the Commission said.
March 2019 recorded the highest volume ever of EU-U.S. trade in LNG with more than 1.4 billion cubic meters, the EC added.
Top energy business executives from both sides of the Atlantic are meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss further ways to enhance LNG trade, the role that competitively-priced U.S.-LNG can play on the EU market and the growing opportunities for using LNG in the transport sector.
"This High-Level Energy Forum, opened by EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, gives American and European businesses the opportunity to chart further actions to fully harvest commercial opportunities in the LNG trade," the Commission said.
These new opportunities for LNG trade include new infrastructure for upstream development, liquefaction and re-gasification to pipeline network distribution, as well as new business models and financial instruments in a changing market, according to the EC.
"Natural gas will remain an important component of the EU's energy mix in the near future as we move towards cleaner sources of energy. Given our heavy dependence on imports, U.S. liquefied natural gas, if priced competitively, could play an increasing and strategic role in EU gas supply,” Canete was quoted as saying.
The U.S. Secretary of Energy was also quoted as saying that Thursday's discussion follows on from last July's joint statement by U.S. President Donald Trump and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker on strengthening U.S.-EU strategic energy partnership.
"We share a history of transatlantic cooperation, through good times and bad, and together we promote our heritage of freedom. The strength of this relationship can particularly be seen in energy. When it comes to natural gas, we each have what the other needs to derive tremendous mutual benefit from advancing our energy relationship,” Perry said.
The Commission noted that the EU is ready to facilitate more imports of LNG from the U.S., "if the market conditions are right and prices competitive."
By Ebru Sengul