The cutoff of a large portion of the natural gas flow from Russia to Europe has driven the price through the roof, creating an opportunity for suppliers and speculators to make even more money by holding back supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG), thus driving the spot price even higher.
The following report from Austria describes the deliberate backup of LNG tankers in European ports. Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from eXXpress:
What a mess: Already 30 (!) gas tankers are parked off Europe’s coasts
The usury with our energy prices is visible to everyone, right off Europe’s coasts — and nobody is doing anything about it: Already 30 gigantic liquefied natural gas tankers are failing to dock at the unloading terminals, in order not to lower the price for natural gas in the EU nations.
Again and again we Austrians hear the same statements: Vladimir Putin is to blame for the high gas prices (although his energy company Gazprom continues to deliver gas to Austria cheaply and in an environmentally friendly fashion via a pipeline, as always). But now it is becoming increasingly clear who is causing our energy costs to explode: it is speculators who do not allow more supply to come onto the European market — because this additional supply of gas would of course immediately crash the natural gas prices on the energy exchanges.
There are already 30 gigantic LNG tankers floating off Europe’s coasts — these giants have up to 150,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on board, and one load could supply 65,000 households for a whole year. We Europeans are currently being deprived of enough natural gas for 1.95 million families. Willfully, simply out of greed.
Waiting for better times
In any case, the LNG market is extremely dynamic. The shipowners choose the market with the best profit. If the prices in Asia are higher than in Europe, for example, the ships simply turn around and are gone. The main suppliers — above all the USA and Qatar — have significantly reduced the speed of transport to Europe due to the falling gas prices and prefer to wait on the open sea for better times. And that despite the enormous sums that such ships devour. Chartering individual LNG tankers at the end of October, for a trip across the Atlantic, costs €400,000 — every day!
Afterword from the translator:
It’s already clear that only the price is being pushed up. However, I would be interested to know how long such a tanker can cool its gas until it is empty? They are supposed to use up to 25% of their load for cooling on the way from the USA to the EU. I mean, waiting like that — they have to be empty at some point, don’t they? If anyone knows how this is supposed to work out, feel free to enlighten me. Thanks.