The United States saw its net natural gas exports in the first half of 2019 more than double from the same period last year, thanks to more liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity coming online in recent months, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says.
Between January and June 2019, U.S. net natural gas exports averaged 4.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), more than double the average net exports in 2018, data from EIA’s Natural Gas Monthly showed.
The United States, which exports natural gas via pipelines to neighbors Canada and Mexico and exports LNG to several other countries, became a net natural gas exporter on an annual basis in 2017, for the first time in nearly 60 years.
A large part of the recent increase in U.S. natural gas exports is due to a growing number of LNG facilities coming online. U.S. exports of LNG jumped by 37 percent in the first half of 2019 compared to the first half of 2018, according to EIA data.
As of June this year, the U.S. had a total LNG export capacity of 5.4 Bcf/d across four facilities and nine liquefaction trains, and two additional export facilities have come online in the second half of this year so far—the first train at Freeport LNG in Texas and the first ten trains at Elba Island in Georgia. Together with the completion of Cameron LNG, those two facilities are set to boost America’s LNG export capacity to 8.9 Bcf/d by the end of 2020, EIA says. Related: A ‘’Gusher Of Red Ink’’ For U.S. Shale
The United States will be the global leader in newly-built LNG liquefaction capacity between 2019 and 2023, data and analytics company GlobalData said earlier this month.
Despite the fact that LNG exports surge, most U.S. natural gas trade is being made along the pipelines to Canada and Mexico. U.S. exports to Mexico increased by 5 percent and exports to Canada stayed basically flat in H1 2019.
EIA expects net natural gas exports to continue to increase, due to growing LNG export capacity and more pipelines to Mexico coming online later this year and in 2020.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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The plan for the US before we found abundant gas from fracture stimulation of horizontal wells was to import LNG from countries where gas was stranded, such as Qatar which has the largest conventional gas field in the world with 1,000 TCF of gas. LNG export trains were built in OPEC countries in anticipation of meeting US natural gas needs which never materialized, again due to our unconventional fracture stimulation of horizontal wells.
The amount of unconventional gas resources that we ultimately have has been debated, thus the question again of how long can we export gas via pipeline and via LNG ships. There are massive undeveloped new gas discoveries around the world with plans by IOC's and OPEC to develop these conventional gas resources and export them to Asia and Europe where there is not unconventional gas resources such as what we have here in the US.
Will be interesting how long the US gas resources will be viable before we again plan on importing LNG to meet our growing gas needs after our gas resources are depleted in the future just as our conventional gas resources were depleted in the past. Regards.