‘Non, Merci Joe!’ – France Is (Was) The Biggest Importer Of US LNG


On January 26, President Joe Biden paused all approvals of new U.S. LNG export plans following increased protests from climate activists after the country became the world’s top exporter of the commodity this past year.

This pause will be used to conduct a review that will “look at the economic and environmental impacts of projects seeking approval to export LNG to Europe and Asia,” according to reporting by Reuters.

Even in the first year of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which kicked off the scramble for other sources of natural gas, many European economies turned to the United States for their gas supply.

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France, for example, led the pack in 2022 with a share of roughly 15 percent of all exported LNG, as data from the U.S. Department of Energy shows.

The United Kingdom and Spain were also responsible for almost double-digit export shares.

European countries combined received around 69 percent of all the LNG the United States exported via ship in 2022.

This shift of trade flows came at the expense of other partners since the volume of exported LNG increased at a slower pace between 2021 and 2022 compared to the years prior, amounting to about 3.9 trillion cubic meters in 2022 versus 3.6 trillion in the year before.

India and South Korea, for example, received 38 and 35 percent less LNG in volume, respectively, than in 2021.

The Biden administration’s move to halt talks on as-of-now unapproved or future applications for the export of LNG has sparked ire among the opposition, which claimed this decision could send mixed signals to the United States allies in Europe dependent on this export flow.

On February 6, U.S. lawmakers led by House Republicans held the first of two hearings in the House Energy, Climate and Grid Security Subcommittee. The second hearing is scheduled to take place today, Thursday, February 8.

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