Written by Alex Benjamin Wilson
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) represents the main alternative to pipeline supplies of gas. In liquefied form, natural gas (methane) can be stored and transported across long distances, contributing to diversification of supply and enhancing energy security in Europe. The gas market in the EU is characterised by gradually declining domestic consumption and more rapidly declining domestic production. Import needs are likely to increase in the short and medium term, and remain broadly stable in the longer term. The recent plunge in gas prices, combined with abundance of supply and a weak global economic scenario, has encouraged the diversion of LNG supplies to Europe. The International Energy Agency and the European Commission expect this trend to continue in the coming years. Major new LNG suppliers are emerging and the prospect of US shale gas being exported as LNG could further reshape global gas markets.
The European Commission is developing an EU strategy for LNG and gas storage, one of several measures under the Energy Union package to improve energy security and diversify sources of supply. Infrastructural projects, often with EU funding, are helping several Member States to access LNG supplies, while others have sufficient import capacity to meet expected future needs. A strategic emphasis on LNG is consistent with the recommendations of the European Council and the European Parliament.
Read the complete Briefing on ‘Liquefied Natural Gas in Europe‘ in PDF.