Spain overtakes China as a main destination for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US

Maximum cap of €180/MWh on natural gas prices agreed by EU nations

Image of a gas flame burning. Credit: Marian Weyo/

Spain has become one of the main destinations worldwide for the American supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), even overtaking China.

According to data from the US Department of Energy, up to July 2022, Spain has surpassed China as one of the main destinations for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US throughout the world. Specifically, 7.6 per cent of all LNG exported worldwide by America since 2016 was unloaded on the Iberian Peninsula.

Thanks to the boom in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the US has become the largest gas producer in the world. Although Spain is historically the main client, it has been overtaken this year by France and also the Netherlands.

With the gas supply crisis due to the war in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia, European countries have consolidated America’s role as the main supplier. France is the biggest consumer, while the likes of Italy, Austria, and Switzerland have also become clients after Russia closed its pipelines.

In total, Spain has received about 916,000 million cubic feet (or Bcf), or the equivalent of about 290 methane tankers. These volumes are only surpassed by Japan (9.6 per cent) and South Korea (13.2 per cent) in the last six years. 

China has fallen to fourth place with 7.6 per cent (914,000 million Bcf). France has climbed into fifth position with 6.2 per cent, pushing the United Kingdom back into sixth place. Brazil and India remain seventh and eighth. The Netherlands is another of the countries that rise in the ranking, going from eleventh to ninth.

In July 2022, France, the Netherlands, and Spain received 41 per cent of all the gas that the US exported abroad. South Korea and Japan kept another 17 per cent between them. US industry shipped 300.2 billion cubic feet of LNG, 0.1 per cent less than in June and 0.1 per cent more than the same month in 2021, according to data in the report.
US capacity has increased substantially this year with 100 LNG carriers embarking in July compared to 97 ships the year before. This is despite the fact that one of the country’s main facilities, Freeport, remains inoperative until November due to an accident in June. Until then, around 20 per cent of the LNG exported came from that gas hub.

The huge jump by European countries in the importation of LNG is due to the fact that the US is progressively occupying the role of Russia as the main supplier of gas to the continent. This is especially the case after the Kremlin chose to cut fuel shipments from 2021 and even reduce them to zero in 2022 in the case of gas pipelines going to Germany. 

There are countries like Spain that are still importing gas from Russia through methane tankers due to long-term contracts currently in force, It is expected that these figures though will continue to fall in the coming months, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at