Several dozen LNG tankers stuck near Spanish coast, waiting for permission to dock and unload gas

There are several dozen tankers loaded with liquefied natural gas (LNG) are waiting near the Spanish coast for permission to unload their cargo. However, Spanish transmission system operators warn that unloading may be halted for the duration of a «state of emergency».
If the congestion of LNG tanker ships is near the Spanish coast is not resolved soon, these ships may start looking for other sea ports outside of the EU to unload their cargo.
More than 35 LNG tanker ships are waiting in a queue to unload. At least eight of them are anchored in the Gulf of Cádiz, as reported by brokers, analysts and anonymous sources at LNG terminals on Monday, 17 October.
According to an anonymous source in the gas sector, only six connections for regasification are available at local gas terminals in Spain this week.
Spanish national gas transmission network operator Enagas reported on Monday that «an exceptional operational situation» in the sector. During this exceptional situation unloading of LNG tanker ships may be refused to avoid overloading the LNG terminals in the country.

This high load in Spain’s regasification infrastructure is expected to continue until the first week of November.

As Reuters was told by an anonymous source, there are LNG tanker ships awaiting their turn to unload at terminals of other EU member states.
FLEX LNG Management Chief Executive Officer Oystein Kalleklev reports that the capacity of floating LNG terminals has reached an all-time highest level – slightly above 2.5 million tonnes.
Alex Froley, data analyst for ICIS, said the lack of regasification infrastructure and gas pipeline collection between countries that have LNG terminals and other EU member states means LNG tanker ships are forced to wait near the Spanish southern coast, circle around the Mediterranean Sea and near the coast of the UK.
Demand for natural gas is down in Spain because as the European economic growth rate goes down, so does demand in the industrial sector. On top of that, gas consumption in Spain is lower than expected due to unusually warm weather for the season.

Spain has the biggest regasification capacity in the European Union, as it accounts for 33% of the union’s LNG output and 44% of LNG storage capacity.

Analysts allow that some of the owners of gas shipments are not worried about delays because once winter comes, the price of gas will increase, and this will help cover ship downtime costs.
Europe is anxious about the upcoming winter seasons and is putting all efforts into securing energy reserves now that Russia is gradually ceasing supplies of gas to Europe amid western sanctions imposed to punish the country for the war in Ukraine.
LNG is one of the most widely used alternatives. However, the arrival of so many ships has presented a problem – Europe lacks regasification capacity, as existing terminals are already at the brink of overload.

On Monday, 17 October, China ceased selling LNG to foreign countries in order to satisfy domestic needs.

Market players allow that as a result of delays many LNG tanker ships may start making their way to Asia.
This week French, German, Spanish and Portuguese leaders plan to meet this week in order to discuss MidCat pipeline, which will be used to deliver Spanish gas – and hydrogen in the future – to the central parts of Europe.
MidCat is planned as a direct connection between France and Spain.