The United States is expected to become a net natural gas exporter by 2018 due to the rise in exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), according to the Energy Information Administration.
As LNG World News reported previously, EIA projects the United States to become a net exporter of total energy in the 2020s in large part because of increasing natural gas exports.
Cheniere’s Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana became the first operating LNG export facility in the lower 48 states in 2016. By 2021, four LNG export facilities currently under construction are expected to be completed, EIA said, adding that, combined, these five plants are expected to have an operational export capacity of 9.2 billion cubic feet per day.
After 2021, projected U.S. exports of LNG grow at a more modest rate as U.S. natural gas faces growing competition from other global LNG suppliers, EIA said.
According to EIA’s reference case projections, natural gas production is expected to grow through 2020 at about the same rate (3.6 percent annual average) as it has since 2005, when production of natural gas from shale formations began to grow rapidly.
After 2020, natural gas production grows at a lower rate (1.0 percent annual average) as net export growth moderates, energy efficiencies increase, and natural gas prices slowly rise.
LNG exports are projected to be at the highest level in the case of high world oil prices as consumers move away from petroleum products when other energy sources become economically favorable, global LNG demand increases and U.S. LNG exports reach 9.2 Tcf, or 25 Bcf/d.
U.S. exports of natural gas by pipeline to Mexico are also expected to increase. They have already doubled since 2009 and are projected to continue rising through at least 2020 as pipeline projects currently under construction are completed.
U.S. imports of natural gas from Canada are expected to decline but the United States is expected to remain a net importer of natural gas by pipeline from Canada through 2040 in the majority of cases.