The US accounted for almost half of the EU’s and the UK’s LNG imports in 2023, making it the largest supplier for the third consecutive year, according to a report published by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), citing data from natural gas information provider CEDIGAZ

According to the EIA, the US supplied the largest amount of LNG to Europe compared with any other continent. In 2021, the US provided 2.4bcfd, accounting for 27% of total European LNG imports, which increased to 44% (6.5bcfd) in 2022 and 48% (7.1bcfd) in 2023.

Qatar and Russia were the second and third-largest suppliers of LNG to Europe in 2023. Qatar supplied 14% of total European imports, providing about 2bcfd, and Russia supplied 13% (1.8bcfd). 

“Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 prompted European countries to halt most imports of natural gas from Russia via pipeline and reactivate development of previously dormant regasification projects as well as develop new projects,” the EIA said in the report. 

In 2023, Europe’s LNG imports remained stable at an average of 14.7bcfd compared with 2022, despite adding an estimated 4.2bcfd of capacity for regasification. The milder weather during the 2022–23 winter in the Northern Hemisphere decreased the demand for heating, which resulted in Europe having a record-high surplus of natural gas storage, the EIA said.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global gas demand is on course to grow by an average of 1.6% a year between 2022 and 2026, down from an average of 2.5% yearly between 2017 and 2021. The IEA’s Gas 2023 medium-term market report noted that “the advent of the global energy crisis in 2022, triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has ushered in a different era for global gas markets after their decade of strong growth between 2011 and 2021”.

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US natural gas production and demand will rise to record levels in 2023, the EIA said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook in November. The EIA said that dry gas production is expected to increase to 103.68bcfd by 2023, followed by a further increase to 105.12bcfd in 2024 from the previous record of 99.60bcfd in 2022. The EIA has revised its forecasts from October, which had predicted a supply of 103.72bcfd.

In the next few years, the LNG market is expected to see changes due to an increase in new capacity, easing the market’s tightness and unlocking price-sensitive demand, the IEA said last year. The overall global capacity of LNG is projected to grow by 25% between 2022 and 2026, with the US the world’s largest LNG exporter through the construction of new liquefaction plants. 

“Growth in LNG supply signals a shift to a more globalised gas marketplace, which will improve resiliency and the ability of suppliers and consumers to respond to supply and demand shocks,” the IEA said in the report.