What the EIA Expects for US Natural Gas and LNG Exports



US natural gas exports

According to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), the United States is currently the world’s largest natural gas producer. Natural gas production in the United States increased from 55 Bcf/d (billion cubic feet per day) in 2008 to 72.5 Bcf/d in 2016. About 96% of this natural gas is consumed domestically. As a result of huge natural gas resources and a significant rise in production, US natural gas exports have increased.

The EIA expects that the United States will export more natural gas than it imports in 2017 and 2018. According to the EIA, the United States will likely remain a net exporter of natural gas even beyond 2018 due to growing US natural gas exports to Mexico, a decline in pipeline imports from Canada, and increasing liquefied natural gas (or LNG) exports.

In fact, to accommodate new natural gas pipeline imports from the United States, Mexico’s domestic natural gas pipeline network is undergoing a major expansion.

Additionally, supplies of natural gas out of Appalachia are likely to gradually displace some pipeline imports from Canada and increase US pipeline exports to Canada, the EIA reported.

US LNG exports

The EIA expects that the United States will have the third-largest LNG export capacity in the world after Australia and Qatar by 2020. Currently, there are only three operational liquefaction trains in the United States at Cheniere Energy’s (LNG) (CQP) Sabine Pass LNG terminal located in Louisiana. The fourth train at Sabine Pass is undergoing commissioning, and a fifth train is expected to come online in 2019. Five more projects are still under construction and are expected to come online in the next three years, increasing total US liquefaction capacity from 1.4 Bcf/d as of the end of 2016 to 9.5 Bcf/d by the end of 2019.

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