Published: May 12, 2023
By: Concentric Staff Writer
Natural gas supplies in Europe were at record levels at the end of the heating season following a warm winter and government policies that maximized storage injections, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.
As of April 1, 2023, gas storage inventories were 56 percent full at the end of the heating season, which runs from November 1 through March 31. Inventories totaled about 2 trillion cubic feet, EIA said, citing data from Gas Infrastructure Europe’s Aggregated Gas Storage Inventory. The previous record was 1.98 Tcf during the 2019–2020 winter.
“The winter of 2022–23 was Europe’s second-warmest winter on record and the warmest January, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” EIA said.
Along with governmental policies requiring storage operators to maximize injections during the refill season, demand was lower with warmer weather. Liquified natural gas (LNG) imports were at record highs, helping to replace supply lost as Europe and the United Kingdom reduced imports from Russia. Europe relies on imports for 80 percent of its consumption, as Russian imports fell by 87 percent from about 8.8 billion cubic feet per day in the 2021-2022 winter to 1.1 million Bcf/d this past winter.
Natural gas imports from Norway increased to 11.3 Bcf/d in 2022, rising by 3 percent from the previous year, averaging 11.5 Bcf/d this past winter. Imports “helped to refill storage inventories and balance the market, offsetting the decline in pipeline imports from Russia.” EIA said.
Europe’s LNG imports were high throughout 2022, rising by 65 percent from 2021 to 14.9 Bcf/d. Imports reached an all-time monthly high of 17.9 Bcf/d in December. Europe was the primary destination for U.S. LNG exports, with the U.S. being the largest supplied to Europe for a second year in a row, accounting for 44 percent of LNG imports into Europe, EIA said.
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