EIA slashes Henry Hub price estimates, expects US LNG exports to nearly triple in H2 2019

Cove Point LNG export facility (Image courtesy of Dominion Energy)

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has reduced its forecast for Henry Hub natural gas spot prices this year.

In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook released on Tuesday, the agency said Henry Hub gas prices would average $2.88 per million British thermal units in 2018 and $2.92/MMBtu in 2019.

The 2018 estimate is down 24 cents as compared to forecasts in EIA’s previous short-term outlook.

The average Henry Hub natural gas spot price was $2.99/MMBtu in 2017, up 47 cents from the year before.

U.S. dry natural gas production was forecast to be at 80.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2018, a 6.9 Bcf/d increase from the 2017 level.

The agency also projected natural gas production would rise by an average of 2.6 Bcf/d in 2019.

 

US LNG exports to nearly triple

 

The US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports sourced from shale gas will continue to climb this year and are expected to nearly triple in the second half of 2019, according to the agency.

The US currently exports the fuel only via Cheniere’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, however, new export facilities are expected to come online during the year.

EIA estimates LNG exports will average 3.0 Bcf/d in 2018, up from 1.9 Bcf/d in 2017.

EIA also expects the Cove Point terminal in Maryland, which is expected soon to ship its first cargo, to ramp up to full capacity during the year.

At the Elba Island facility in Georgia, 6 of the 10 small modular trains, each with a capacity of 0.03 Bcf/d, are expected to enter service.

The first liquefaction train with a capacity 0.7 Bcf/d at Freeport LNG in Texas is also scheduled to come online by the end of 2018, the agency noted in its report.

EIA projects LNG exports to average 4.8 Bcf/d in 2019, when the four remaining modular trains at Elba Island come online and the remaining two trains at Freeport LNG enter service.

Two trains in Corpus Christi, Texas, and three trains at Cameron LNG in Louisiana are also expected to enter service in 2019.

EIA forecasts exports will ramp up in the second half of 2019 to an average of 5.5 Bcf/d, up from 4.1 Bcf/d in the first half of 2019.

“In both 2018 and 2019 the new liquefaction facilities will require a ramp up period, and they are forecast to operate below nameplate capacity for a period of time, lowering the overall LNG export capacity utilization rate,” it said.

 

LNG World News Staff

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