RIYADH: European imports of liquefied natural gas soared last year as nations sought to cover for drops in Russian pipeline supplies, a report from the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
The jump in demand from European nations sent prices spiking higher, with global sales doubling in value to $450 billion even though volume rose only 5.5 percent, the IEA said in a quarterly report on the gas market.
It said it expects LNG volumes to rise by 4.3 percent in 2023.
"LNG import growth in 2022 was led by Europe with a sharp 63 percent increase, compensating for a significant drop in pipeline gas imports from Russia," the IEA said.
European imports of LNG rose by 66 billion cubic meters, with the US supplying two-thirds of that increased consumption.
"LNG played a critical role in mitigating the impact of Russia's deep cuts in piped gas supply to the European Union and was instrumental in avoiding gas supply shortages in 2022," said the IEA.
For 2023, the IEA expects European gas demand to dip by three percent after having fallen by 13 percent in 2022.
It sees further reductions in the use of gas by the power sector as renewables expand and French nuclear production increases after repair works are completed.
While industrial use of gas is expected to recover by 10 percent, the evolution of gas for residential heating will depend on weather.
The mild 2022-2023 European winter helped the region avoid shortages.
The IEA said a complete cut-off of Russian gas delivered by pipeline would require a steeper reduction in demand of eight percent.
Global gas consumption, pipeline plus LNG, dipped 1.6 percent last year to 4.042 trillion cubic meters.
The IEA sees it stagnating in 2023.