Thursday, July 18, 2024
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While the war holds back Russian gas, Norway’s Equinor is taking an outsized market impact

When the world’s top gas traders met in late April at a canalside hotel on the outskirts of Amsterdam, the atmosphere was ‘business as usual’: coffee, croissants and arguments over deals for the coming winter. Then came news of a leak at Europe’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, located above the Arctic Circle in Norway.

The problem – discovered during a planned test of the facility’s safety systems – was quickly repaired, but not before causing a temporary spike in natural gas prices. Back in the Netherlands, it served as an uncomfortable reminder of the power of one company, Equinor.

In the more than two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, sending energy prices soaring, the Norwegian oil and gas giant has quietly picked up the crown that once belonged to Russia’s Gazprom PJSC. Norway now supplies 30% of the bloc’s gas; Gazprom supplied about 35% of all European gas before the war. And of the more than 109 billion cubic meters of natural gas that Norway exported to Europe last year – enough to supply Germany with energy until 2026 – roughly two-thirds was marketed and sold by Equinor.

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