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Snapshot of gas and LNG flows and market dynamics: Q1 2021

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Snapshot of LNG market dynamics

Q1 2021 LNG supply was up 3 percent or 3.2 MT from Q4 2020 with increases coming from Qatar (+1.6 MT, +8%), the US (+0.6 MT, +3%), and Malaysia (+0.2 MT, +4%) while offset by declines from Russia (-0.3 MT, -4%), Australia (-0.4 MT, -2%), and Nigeria (-0.2 MT, -5%).

From a demand perspective, LNG imported volumes declined from Q4 2020 to China (-1 MT, -5%) and the rest of Asia (-0.8 MT, -6%) but picked up significantly in JKT (+5.4 MT, +15%) and Europe (+2.3 MT, +13%).

Shipping ton miles increased by 8 percent (or 42 BTMi) especially for Atlantic-Atlantic (+10 BTMi, +14%) and Atlantic-Pacific routes (+23 BTMi, +14%).

Q1 2021 LNG supply was flat compared to Q1 2020 with significant regional variability. The US increased its output by 16 percent or 2.3 MT while all other geographies reduced output. Notably, Russia supply declined by 0.4 MT or 5 percent and Nigeria by 1 MT or 17 percent.

From a year-over-year perspective, we can see a strong contrast in import patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic with Chinese imports up ~5 MT compared to Q1 2020 and European imports down ~8 MT in the same time. Shipping ton miles show a substitution of Atlantic-Atlantic (-27 BTMi) and Pacific- Atlantic (-12 BTMi) for Atlantic-Pacific flows (+82 BTMi).

  • Total LNG demand (last 12 months): 358.9 mtpa
  • LNG shipping intensity (last 12 months): 1,956 BTMi

Snapshot of European natural gas flows

In Europe, available supply is up 19 percent or 21.7 bcm from Q4 2020 with increases in production (+1.0 bcm, +8%), storage withdrawals (+22.6 bcm), and LNG withdrawals (+1.1 bcm) but lower pipeline entries (-3 bcm, -4%) where increases in Algerian imports (+1.8 bcm) are offset by declines in Russian imports (-5.6 bcm).

Year-over-year, quarterly production levels and LNG withdrawals are respectively down 11 percent (-1.5 bcm) and 32 percent (-7.2 bcm) while pipeline entries are up 13 percent (7.6 bcm)—especially from Algeria (+5.5 bcm) and Russia (+3.1 bcm). A large uptick in storage withdrawals (+9.8 bcm, +29%) has offset lower LNG withdrawals (-7.2 bcm, -32%).

Demand levels are up 11 percent (+13.6 bcm) compared to Q1 2020 with notable increases from Germany (+ 6.2 bcm), North West Europe (+3.0 bcm), and Italy (+1.2 bcm).

Storage withdrawals for Q1 2021 reached 43.5 bcm, up ~10 bcm compared to 2020 and leaving storage levels at the end of March 2021 at 30 percent capacity.

  • Total EU gas demand (last 12 months): 378 bcm
  • Total EU pipeline imports (last 12 months): 247 bcm
  • Gas storage utilization (and volume): 30.0% (30 bcm)

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