Can America solve the gas problem in Europe?

By Charles Riley, CNN Business

(CNN) – The North Atlantic shipping lanes are going to be very busy this year as the US armada natural gas shipments are heading to Europe, helping the continent reduce its dependence on Russian energy following the invasion of ukraine.

The Biden administration said on Friday the United States would work with other suppliers to send an additional 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European Union in 2022.

Energy experts say US export of LNG terminals are turning red this year, putting the Biden administration’s goal within reach.

“An increase of 15 billion cubic meters from 2021 levels should be achievable, particularly if we continue to see the strong flows we’ve seen so far this year,” the commodities strategists said. Dutch bank ING.

How much gas are we talking about? An increase of 15 billion cubic meters will not be enough to replace European imports of Russian gas, which totaled around 155 billion cubic meters in 2021.

But it’s a start.

“15 billion cubic meters of LNG is a big number. It equates to around one-sixth of Germany’s annual gas demand,” said Alex Froley, LNG analyst at Independent Commodity Intelligence Services.

Remember: LNG is not shipped through pipelines. Instead, the gas is cooled to a liquid and loaded onto ships. Sending an additional 15 billion cubic meters to Europe would mean 150 additional shipments crossing the Atlantic.

It is remarkable that the United States is able to help Europe.

The United States only shipped its first shipment of LNG from the lower 48 states in 2016 and became the world’s top exporter in just six years, as a shale gas revolution boosted domestic production and transformed the world. country into a powerful force in global energy markets. .

America exported more LNG than rival producers Qatar and Australia for the first time in December. It will be the largest exporter in the world through 2022 as a whole, according to the US Energy Information Agency.

The United States will add even more capacity in the coming years.

“The United States has abundant gas supplies, a broadly supportive policy and regulatory environment, and an experienced and capable construction industry, making it one of the most attractive places to develop new capacity. export,” Woods Mackenzie’s Ed Crooks said earlier this year.

A huge gas price spike in Europe was attracting more US deliveries even before the Biden administration’s announcement on Friday.

The European Union imported more than 12 billion cubic meters of LNG from America in the first three months of the year, compared to 4 billion cubic meters in the same period of 2021, according to Froley.

This means that the United States is already well ahead of Biden’s goal.

Remembering an investment legend

Edward “Ned” Johnson III, who oversaw the transformation of Fidelity Investments into a financial services powerhouse and pioneered the sale of mutual funds directly to individual investors, died on Wednesday. He was 91 years old.

Johnson served as president and CEO of Fidelity Investments, the company his father started for more than 40 years, and grew the mutual fund manager into the second-largest investment management company in the United States. and one of the most successful financial services companies in the world. .

Success story: When Johnson became president in 1972, Fidelity had $3.9 billion in assets under management. The company now has $11.1 trillion in assets under administration, as of its February filing.

Johnson helped revolutionize the way Americans save and plan for retirement by making Wall Street more accessible to investors, reports my CNN Business colleague Nicole Goodkind.

In 1974, he broke the mold by selling mutual funds directly to individual investors rather than through traditional brokers. After Congress created the 401(k) in 1978, it introduced a system for managing retirement funds, which is now a fundamental part of the retirement plans of millions of Americans. As the stock market entered a period of steady growth in the 1980s, Fidelity was the first company to provide discount brokerage services to individuals. In 1995, it became the first fund company to create a website.

People are looking for electric cars

As gas prices soar and the pain at the pump intensifies, consumers respond by looking — and perhaps dream of — more fuel-efficient vehicles, reports my CNN colleague Rachel Ramirez.

According to Google Trends, web search interest in electric vehicles hit an all-time high in the United States in March.

While high gas prices are certainly one of the reasons, Jesse Toprak, chief automotive analyst at Autonomy, an electric vehicle subscription company, said the new interest is being spurred by a combination of factors. .

“It’s a direct reaction to high gas prices, and on top of that, we’re also seeing more and more electric vehicle models available to consumers,” Toprak told CNN Business.

Does this mean that every Google searcher buys a new electric vehicle? Maybe not.

Many people are probably exploring the costs and benefits of these cool looking electric cars. Electric vehicles are still too expensive for many American households. And rather than shell out even more money up front, many consumers tend to stick with their current vehicles for as long as they last.

Still, Toprak said Google Trends search is a good measure of consumer demand and is consistent with what his company has seen in recent weeks: increased inquiries and reservations for electric cars.

“We’re also seeing more and more customers wanting to inquire, even though they’ve been on the sidelines so far,” Toprak said. “There’s clearly an interest in consumers trying to figure out, ‘is this a better alternative for me?'”


U.S. pending home sales data to be released at 10:00 a.m. ET

Also today: University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey.

Coming next week: US jobs report for March; Earnings from BioNTech and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

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Mary I. Bruner