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First Shipment of US Natural Gas Arrives in Portugal

FILE - Pipelines running from the offshore docking station to four liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks at the Dominion Resources Inc. Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Cove Point, Maryland, are seen in a June 13, 2003, photo.

The first shipment of liquefied natural gas from the United States has reached its destination in Portugal, a development that could disrupt Russia's domination of the European gas market.

The U.S. cargo ship Creole Spirit arrived early Wednesday in the port of Sines, Portugal, carrying a shipment from Houston, Texas-based Cheniere Energy.

The United States is the world's biggest natural gas producer and began expanding its forays into overseas markets earlier this year. While this was the first shipment to Europe, U.S. producers have already shipped gas to Argentina, Brazil, and India.

Conflict in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia have dried up the usual channels by which Europe gets one-third of its natural gas, leaving the market open for U.S. exporters. Cheniere also has agreements to make shipments to France and Britain in the coming years.