Natural gas prices in Europe, well over price levels in Asia, are prompting LNG tankers to reroute mid-voyage and head for Europe as the gas supply crunch on the continent worsens.
Buyers in Asian countries have outbid Europeans for LNG shipments for much of the year, but with storage now full across Asia, uncommitted cargoes from the Atlantic basin that were heading for Asia are being turned round by their owners and sent to Europe to cash in on soaring prices and demand.
The ships carrying liquefied natural gas to Europe include the first Australian LNG tanker headed for the continent in a decade.
American LNG exports are expected to rise significantly in 2022, surpassing quantities exported by Qatar and Australia.
According to US agency EIA, the Energy Information Administration, American LNG exports will rise to 11.5 billion cubic feet annually in 2022, 22 percent of projected global demand.
The US is expected to maintain the leadership in LNG exports until at least 2025, when Qatar is scheduled to launch an extension of its North Field gas deposit.
According to Reuters, 13 percent of American LNG exports in 2021 went to South Korea, 13 percent to China and 10 percent to Japan.
Three new gas liquefaction plants are planned to be launched in the US in 2022, by Cheniere Energy, Venture Global, and Tellurian.