WARSAW — Not many people had expected the United States to turn to Europe for natural gas this winter.
Yet the polar chill that gripped the East Coast this month, and sent spot prices to records, has led to a tanker loaded with liquefied natural gas bound for Boston from the United Kingdom. Some of it was likely produced by a project in Siberia targeted by US sanctions.
The Gaselys tanker is due to arrive in Boston on Jan. 22 after loading fuel from storage tanks at the United Kingdom’s Isle of Grain, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The vessel docked at Grain shortly after the terminal near London received the first cargo from the $27 billion Yamal LNG plant in Russia’s icy north.
“Gas from anywhere is profitable into that northeastern US gas market as prices are the highest in the world,” said Trevor Sikorski, head of natural gas, coal, and carbon at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London.
The arrival from the United Kingdom would make it the first LNG reload into the United States since cargo from the tanks of the Huelva terminal in Spain was imported in June 2014, according to data through October from the US Department of Energy. US imports of the super-chilled fuel, mostly into Boston from Trinidad and Tobago, have dropped since exports started from the Gulf of Mexico coast in 2016.
Isle of Grain terminal operator National Grid Plc said it doesn’t comment on the intentions of gas shippers using its facilities. It’s not immediately clear who owns the cargo.
US domestic demand climbed to a record last week as snow and winds bombarded Americans on the East Coast.
Yamal LNG, co-owned by Russia’s Novatek PJSC, France’s Total SA, and China National Petroleum Corp., has faced financial sanctions from the United States since 2014 because of Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
The market shouldn’t see any irony in this cargo going to the United States, said James Henderson, director of the natural gas research program at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
“It’s a normal trade,” he said. “LNG is supposed to travel globally to where the demand is.”