First US shale gas shipment heads to Europe amid price war risk

Jessica Morris
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US natural gas exports are expect to hit 60m tonnes per year in 2019 (Source: Getty)

The first shipment of US shale gas earmarked for Europe left its terminal today, as analysts warn it could spark a price war with market leader Russia.

Chemical company Ineos said one of its ships carrying liquefied natural gas had embarked on the 3,600 mile journey from Philadelphia to a purpose built storage tank in Norway.

Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of Ineos, said: “For the first time Europe can access this important energy and raw material source too.”

But analysts warned Russian gas companies could move to defend market share against the US by taking steps to reduce their export prices.

"The response of Russia to accommodate US a further gas player in European market is something to follow with a risk of potential price war as Russia undercuts US to avoid losing market share," Stephane Foucaud, an analyst at First Energy Capital, told City A.M.

US natural gas exports are expect to hit 60m tonnes per year in 2019, and European countries could use this to push back against Russia's rising market dominance.

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