EIA: LNG to dominate U.S. gas exports by early 2020s

Loading of the first commissioning cargo at the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal (Image: Cheniere)

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is expected to dominate U.S. natural gas exports by the early-2020s as the nation is on its way to becoming one of the world’s leading producers of the chilled fuel, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The U.S. started exporting shale gas in the form of LNG in February this year from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass liquefaction plant in Lousiana.

Four more LNG export facilities being developed along the U.S. Gulf Coast are scheduled to be completed by 2020 making the U.S. the world’s third largest LNG supplier with an export capacity of about 60 million mt.

In its Annual Energy Outlook for 2017, the EIA examined eight cases in making projections for energy markets this year extending those out to 2050.

The United States will become a net energy exporter by 2026 in most cases as petroleum liquid imports fall and natural gas exports rise, EIA said.

EIA projected LNG export levels would vary greatly across the scenarios the agency considered, with exports at their highest in the high oil price case, and high oil and gas resource and technology case as LNG is mostly traded under oil price-linked contracts.

In the reference case, that assumes current regulation and central views of economic forecasters, as well as some improvement in known technologies, LNG is projected to dominate U.S. natural gas exports by the early-2020s.

After 2020, U.S. exports of LNG would grow at a more modest rate as U.S.-sourced LNG becomes less competitive in global energy markets, EIA said in the report.

U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico are expected to continue to rise in the short term as pipeline infrastructure currently under development allows for rising exports to meet Mexico’s increased demand for natural gas to fuel electric power generation, the agency noted in the report.

 

LNG World News Staff

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