May 2019, Vol. 246, No. 5

Global News

United States Was Net Gas Exporter Over 12 Consecutive Months

According to EIA’s most recent publication of the Natural Gas Monthly, U.S. net natural gas exports in January 2019 totaled 2.3 Bcf/d, marking 12 consecutive months in which U.S. natural gas exports exceeded U.S. imports. 

Preliminary data from PointLogic Energy indicate that this trend continued through February and March. Exports from the United States via pipeline to both Canada and Mexico, as well as U.S. exports of LNG, were all at or near record highs as of January.

U.S. LNG exports totaled 4.1 Bcf/d in January 2019, marking the third consecutive month a new record high was reached. The volume of exports rose steadily during 2018 as three new liquefaction units, totaling 1.9 Bcf/d capacity, entered service: A single train at the Cove Point terminal in March, Train 5 at Sabine Pass in November and Train 1 at the Corpus Christi terminal in December.

LNG export volumes are expected to continue to rise in 2019 as an additional 4 Bcf/d of liquefaction capacity is brought online by the end of the year. 

U.S. exports via pipeline to Canada, which had been lower in recent years, have risen since November 2018, when both the second phase of the Rover pipeline and the Nexus pipeline entered service. These two projects transport natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica plays to the Dawn Hub in Ontario. U.S. exports to Canada in January 2019 were 2.8 Bcf/d, down from 3.2 Bcf/d in December 2018, when volume reached the highest level since December 2012.

U.S. pipeline exports of natural gas to Mexico in January 2019 were 4.8 Bcf/d, an increase of about 0.4 Bcf/d vs. January 2018, primarily due to increased Permian Basin production and the startup of new natural gas-fired power plants in Mexico. In addition, several existing pipelines in southeastern Texas completed expansions that added cross-border capacity during the previous 12 months. 

EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook forecasts U.S. net natural gas exports to average 5.6 Bcf/d in 2019 and grow by another 50% in 2020, led mostly by the growth in LNG exports as three new LNG facilities will be commissioned in the next two years.

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