Despite ‘Trade War,’ U.S. Natural Gas Exports Booming To Record Highs

Some U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) news this past week was indeed bleak. Previously exempt from the trade spat, China announced plans to put a 25% tariff on imports of U.S. LNG.

China has accounted for about 13-15% of the exports from our flagship LNG terminal, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana, since operations started in February 2016. China, of course, is the world’s largest incremental gas market, now only using a third of what the U.S. consumes, despite having over four times the population. Last year, China surpassed South Korea to become the world’s 2nd largest LNG importer and actually surpassed leader Japan for the month of May.

But, there was also great news for the industry during the week: U.S. LNG exports are soaring to record highs . EIA data notes that six LNG vessels with a combined capacity of 21.6 Bcf left the U.S, five from Sabine Pass and one from Dominion Energy’s Cove Point in Maryland. For July, 30 LNG cargoes left the country, and we saw the highest exports in our history. EIA reports that 23 of the cargoes shipped out of Sabine Pass, with the rest leaving from Cove Point. Overall, we had a total export volume of nearly 105 Bcf. As a backdrop, we were one of 19 global LNG exporters in 2017 and accounted for 5% of the almost 40 Bcf/d global LNG market – up from nothing just a few years ago…

 

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