The U.S. more than doubled exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe through October compared to all of last year, blowing past the export target President Joe Biden set to help allies there make up for lost Russian molecules.
LNG exporters shipped approximately 48 billion cubic meters of gas to the European Union between January and October, or some 26 bcm of LNG more than 2021, with two months still left in the year to ship additional volumes. Biden and European leaders had set a goal of facilitating an additional 15 bcm of additional exports in 2022 to European allies back in the spring.
The White House announced the latest figures Monday in press readout detailing conclusions of the latest meeting of the U.S.-EU Task Force on Energy Security, which officials held on Thursday.
“Close partnership between the EU and the United States on energy matters offers opportunities for both sides to accelerate the clean energy transition and also curtails Russia’s energy revenues, which are used to fund the unprovoked and unjustified war,” the readout said.
More LNG exports from the U.S. and other major producers have helped take the place of drastically reduced imports of pipeline gas from Russia, which until this year was Europe’s largest single external source of gas used to generate electricity, feed industry, and heat homes.
After the war began, the EU drew up plans to reduce reliance on Russian gas while imposing sanctions on its other fuel commodities, including coal and petroleum. Russia eventually began throttling gas imports.
Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had started setting up a contingency plan before the gas stopped flowing. In January, before the war started, they called on major energy producers to have Europe’s back in the event of a severe disruption to supplies.
The two executives later followed up weeks into the war in March to announce the Task Force on Energy Security, which beginning in 2023 also seeks an additional 50 bcm of U.S. LNG to the EU annually through 2030.
The United States became the world’s largest LNG producer this year, surpassing Australia and Qatar.
The Biden administration has facilitated more shipments of LNG by approving additional export volumes at future and existing terminals, angering environmental groups, which oppose the expansion of fossil fuels, and some industrial interests, which want more gas on the U.S. market to make prices cheaper.