U.S. LNG Exports: Room to Grow
Posted January 3, 2019
A new chapter in U.S. natural gas exports is unfolding before our very eyes – and with it, strengthened American energy influence abroad, increased trade and support for domestic natural gas production and jobs.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that 2019 will see U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity will reach nearly 9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by year’s end, up from EIA’s 2018 estimate of 4.9 Bcf/d. The U.S. would rank third in the world behind Australia and Qatar. Below, EIA’s matrix that shows liquefaction units – called “trains” – and when they’re expected to become operational:
As you can see, Sabine Pass Train 5 and Corpus Christi LNG Train 1 came online late last year. Cheniere Energy recently announced that the first commissioning cargo of LNG had departed from Corpus Christi, the first from Texas and the first from a greenfield liquefaction facility in the lower 48 states:
Other LNG export facilities expected this year:
- Cameron LNG trains 1-3 in Louisiana
- Freeport LNG trains 1-2 in Texas
- Elba Island LNG near Savannah, Georgia, 10 small modular liquefaction units
- Corpus Christi Train 2
The latest EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that U.S. LNG exports will average 5.2 Bcf/d in 2019 as new liquefaction trains are gradually commissioned – a process that includes cooling the equipment and the refrigerants that then chill the natural gas until it turns into a liquid for shipping.
Exporting LNG is important to U.S. energy trade, which stimulates domestic production while assisting friends and allies abroad. Last fall Cheniere and Polish Oil and Gas Company signed a 24-year deal for supplies of U.S. LNG to be shipped to Poland. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry:
“We believe this sends a clear signal … one that emphasizes the importance of diversity in our nations’ energy security policies. This means a diversity of supply, a diversity of countries providing that supply, and a diversity of routes for delivering that supply.”
This is critically important for global energy security and America’s standing as a reliable supplier – both of which hinge on continued development of U.S. export capacity. The federal approval process for reviewing projects should continue to be efficient and transparent so that viable projects may be completed and come online.
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and four grandchildren.
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