France has become the world’s largest buyer of American LPG

With 16 shipments delivered, France was the first destination for American LNG in March, ahead of Spain and the UK.

Is France preparing to give up Russian gas? The country, which normally gets 20% of its gas consumption from Russia, has accelerated the diversification of its supplies in recent weeks. Primarily LNG, the American liquefied natural gas.

According to an analytical note from S&P Global, France was the world’s top destination for American LNG in March 2022. In March, 16 LNG carriers from the US delivered the country, twice as many as in February. France thus overtakes Spain (15 programs), Great Britain (12) and three countries, South Korea, Turkey and the Netherlands, each with eight programs, in fourth place.

This isn’t the first time France has been the world’s largest buyer of American gas. As early as March 2021, the country was the world’s leading destination, ahead of the UK, with nine deliveries.

A commercial relationship facilitated by the geographical location of the country that allows these deliveries.

“France has a large coastline that allows it to import LPG,” notes Patrice Geoffron, economics professor at the Paris-Dauphine University of French Culture. On the other hand, Russian gas weighs heavily on our German and Italian neighbors, representing more than 50% of their gas supplies.”

The United States committed at the end of March to supply the EU with an additional 15 billion m3 of LNG in 2022, while Brussels will work to ensure “stable” demand for American LNG that would allow an additional supply of 50 billion m3 per year by 2030. The United States made 100 shipments of LNG worldwide in March, up 6% from February and 28% from March 2021.

France, which currently has four land terminals for LNG imports, will be limited by its storage capacities and will have a fifth that will be floating in the port of Le Havre. An infrastructure project that will not see the light of day for 12 to 18 months and is expected to increase French LNG import capacity by 3.9 million tons. In 2019, the country imported 15.6 million tonnes of LNG, behind Spain (15.7 million tonnes) and ahead of the United Kingdom (13.6 million).

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