Europe gas supply vulnerable to Qatar shipments

January 20, 2012 13:51

LONDON - Europe's energy supply may be more vulnerable this year as shipborne gas, relied upon to ease dependence on pipelines from suppliers like Russia or Libya, is likely to sail to more lucrative fast-growing Asian markets, analysts said on Friday.

North-west Europe, especially Britain, depended on Qatar for nearly all of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) last year.

But Qatari LNG exports to Europe fell 22 percent in 2011 due to higher demand in Asia after Japan shut down its nuclear power following the March tsunami, and as demand declined from crisis-hit economies in the south of the continent, analysts at Waterborne Energy said in a report.

"In total, 87 percent of the LNG imported into north-west Europe in 2011 came from Qatar's two liquefaction plants, leaving the region vulnerable to the diversion of cargoes to higher-valued markets in 2012," Waterborne said.

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