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LNG ships queue to unload in Europe  

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Picture of Meenal Datar

Meenal Datar

Membership specialist

Multiple ships carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) are collecting off the coast of Spain, unable to secure slots to unload. The situation has prompted grid operators to warn they may have to suspend loading while they deal with the ‘exceptional situation’.  

As the region attempts regasification of the LNG cargo, this situation has laid bare the limited capacity of Europe to do so. Plants that can convert the liquid fuel back to gas are currently operating at maximum capacity. If the current issue is not resolved quickly, the ships may need to look outside of Europe to offload their cargo.  

There are more than 35 LNG-laden vessels off the coast of Spain, with at least eight of them anchoring off the Bay of Cadiz alone. There are also other LNG vessels anchoring near other European countries, which could mean dozens more are waiting for a slot.  

Spain is offering only six slots at its regasification terminals this week, and only has six terminals in total.  

In a statement issued late on Monday, Spain’s national gas grid operator, Enagas, said it may have to reject unloads of LNG due to overcapacity at its terminals. It added that the issue could remain until, at least, the first week of November.  

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