On January 1, the first LNG tanker from the U.S. arrived in Croatia. And the new terminal on the island of Krk began supplying regasified LNG to the country’s gas transportation system. At the same time, Russian gas supplies dropped but began to recover two weeks later.
The LNG carrier Tristar Ruby delivered 91 million cubic meters in the form of LNG to Croatia for the Croatian division of the Hungarian MFGK, which is part of the Hungarian state-owned MVM group. According to the European monitoring platform GIE, the regasified liquefied gas has started flowing into the country’s gas transportation system since January 1. It averages 3.5 million cubic meters per day. At the same time Russian gas deliveries via Hungary, according to the data of the united platform of European gas transmission system operators ENTSOG, have dropped from 6 million cubic meters per day to about one million cubic meters per day.
This balance of gas supplies to Croatia was maintained until January 5, after which the Russian gas imports went up again and reached 3.2 million cubic meters per day on January 13. Obviously, this balance will remain until the Croatian branch of MFGK fully depletes its LNG volumes, which are already half used up.
The capacity of the new LNG terminal on the island of Krk will be 2.6 billion cubic meters of gas per year. LNG will be supplied there for Croatian and Hungarian enterprises. According to the LNG Croatia operator, the terminal is almost fully booked for the next three years – an average of 2.5 billion cubic meters per year. LNG cargoes from the U.S. and Qatar will form the basis of deliveries.
Hungarian edition 444 pointed out that the U.S. has long pressed Hungary and Croatia to build an LNG terminal and reduce dependence on Russia. The U.S. diplomats insisted on the capacity of 5-10 billion cubic meters per year. However, the countries simply do not need such volumes, and they agreed on 2.6 billion cubic meters. But it was Budapest that put the final point in deciding the fate of the terminal, without which it couldn’t exist. The Hungarian newspaper noted that there were few people willing to buy gas through Croatia and the Hungarian government asked the MVM state group to conclude a contract for 1 billion cubic meters per year. It agreed, but three-quarters of the LNG purchased would still remain in Croatia in exchange for Russian gas, as the Croatian Energy Agency had set a very high fee for the outgoing capacity to Hungary.
Alexei Grivach, deputy director of the National Energy Security Fund (NESF), told EADaily that supplying U.S. LNG to Croatia and Hungary is a promotion of U.S. gas to European markets: “Hungary has no physical need for this gas, and LNG supplies will be small compared to imports from Russia.” In 2019, Gazprom exported 10.5 billion cubic meters of gas to Hungary and 2.8 billion to Croatia.