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The United States will see its total natural gas exports exceed imports by a significantly larger margin this year compared to 2020, thanks to surging liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and continued growth in pipeline exports to Mexico, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday.
This year, U.S. natural gas exports will exceed natural gas imports by an average of 11.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), the EIA has estimated. This would be nearly 50 percent more than the 2020 average of 7.5 Bcf/d net gas exports.
For the first time since U.S. LNG exports from the Lower 48 states began in 2016, annual LNG exports are expected to outpace pipeline exports this year, by an estimated 0.6 Bcf/d, the EIA says.
Total U.S. natural gas exports will continue to grow this year and next, exceeding the record of 14.4 Bcf/d from 2020. Combined U.S. exports of natural gas by pipeline and as LNG are set to average 18.3 Bcf/d in 2021 and 19.3 Bcf/d in 2022, the EIA said.
At the same time, U.S. natural gas imports—almost all of which come from Canada into the Midwestern and western demand markets—are expected to rise by 6 percent annually to average 7.4 Bcf/d in 2021, but later decline to 6.9 Bcf/d next year.
Rising spot demand in both the winter and summer months from Asia and Europe and lower U.S. benchmark gas prices than international prices resulted in record-high American LNG exports in the first half of this year, the EIA said last month.
At the same time, natural gas pipeline exports from the United States to Mexico surpassed 7 Bcf/d on multiple days during June, establishing a new monthly record, the EIA said, citing data from Wood Mackenzie.
More natural gas pipelines have entered into service in recent months to carry gas from the Permian basin to Mexico, boosting U.S. gas exports to America’s neighbor to the south and reducing the wide discount at which gas is traded at the Waha Hub in Texas.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.