Five years after the United States became a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis, the country’s natural gas exports both by pipeline and as liquefied natural gas (LNG) have grown by leaps and bounds.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast that the United States will surpass Australia and Qatar to become the world’s top LNG exporter this year, with LNG exports continuing to lead the growth in U.S. natural gas exports and average 12.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2022.The United States currently ranks second in the world in natural gas exports, behind only Russia.
According to the EIA, annual U.S. LNG exports are set to increase by 2.4 Bcf/d in 2022 and 0.5 Bcf/d in 2023. The energy watchdog has forecast that natural gas exports by pipeline to Mexico and Canada will increase slightly, by 0.3 Bcf/d in 2022 and by 0.4 Bcf/d in 2023, thanks to more exports to Mexico.
For the first time ever, U.S. LNG exports exceeded pipeline exports of natural gas on an annual basis in 2021. Monthly LNG exports continuously set new records in 2021, and averaged 11.3 Bcf/d this winter, a good 2.2 Bcf/d higher than last winter. U.S. LNG exports reached a new high of 11.9 Bcf/d. U.S. in March 2022, thanks to the EU turning increasingly looking to the United States after Russia invaded Ukraine. But all that would not have been possible without the country’s LNG export capacity increasing in 2021 with the addition of Sabine Pass Train 6 and capacity expansions at Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi LNG export terminals.
And this trend is set to continue.
The United States is set to become the country with the largest LNG export capacity in the world once the new Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility is placed in service by the end of 2022. The EIA has predicted that a relatively high LNG demand in Asia and Europe will support continued U.S. LNG exports.
But it’s not just LNG that’s seeing massive growth. The U.S. exports by pipeline also increased in 2021 as Mexico continued to expand its domestic pipeline network.