A host of new liquefaction trains becoming operational in the next few months will make the US the world’s third-largest LNG exporter by the end of 2019, after Australia and Qatar. The US Energy Information Administration predicts capacity will reach 8.9bn cubic feet per day late next year.
The increase in export capacity is likely to favor long-haul shipments from the US to Asian countries
US LNG export capacity will more than double in 2019 to the third-largest in the world, according to the Energy Information Administration.
With two more liquefaction trains expected to ship out their first liquefied natural gas cargoes in the next few weeks and two other export facilities in the commissioning phase, EIA projects US LNG export capacity to reach 8.9bn cu feet per day by the end of next year.
That would make it the third largest in the world, behind Australia and Qatar.
At present, US LNG export capacity stands at 3.6bn cu feet a day and it is expected to end 2019 at 4.9bn cu feet per day as two new liquefaction units become operational.
Train 5 at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility, which began producing in late October, and Train 1 at the company’s Corpus Christi facility, which began producing in mid-November, are set to become the latest in a wave of LNG export facilities in the United States, where current export capacity sits at 3.6bn cu feet per day.
As almost 41% of LNG cargoes from the US go to Asia and the Pacific, the increase in export capacity is likely to boost long-haul shipments and add to tonne miles.
Meanwhile, first production from the Cameron LNG facility in Louisiana and at the Freeport LNG facility in Texas is expected in the first half of next year, with all three trains at Cameron and two trains at Freeport expected to be in full operation thereafter.
The second train at Corpus Christi LNG is also scheduled to be placed in service in the second quarter of 2019.
Shipments from the first of 10 trains at the Elba Island LNG facility near Savannah, is also expected early next year, with production from the remaining nine trains expected to begin sequentially through the rest of 2019.
The US began exporting LNG from the Lower 48 states in February 2016, when Sabine Pass shipped its first cargo. Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland became the second LNG export facility in the United States when it exported its first cargo in March.
Four additional export terminals — Magnolia LNG, Delfin LNG, Lake Charles and Golden Pass — and the sixth train at Sabine Pass have been approved by both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the US Department of Energy, and final investment decisions are expected in the coming months.
The growing LNG export capacity comes as the shale revolution continues to shake up oil and gas supply, enabling the US to pull away from the rest of the field as the world’s largest oil and gas producer.
“By 2025, nearly every fifth barrel of oil and every fourth cubic metre of gas in the world will come from the United States,” IEA said.
The US is forecast to contribute 40% of global natural gas production by 2025 and nearly 75% of oil growth in the next six years, driven mainly by unconventional onshore supplies, the IEA said in its World Energy Outlook 2018.