US to be third-largest LNG global exporter at the end of 2019

Wednesday, 02 January 2019

US LNG exports could reach 60 mtpa by the end of 2019, making the Americans the world’s third-largest exporters. Both Cameron LNG in Louisiana and Freeport LNG in Texas are currently being commissioned. The first LNG production from these facilities is expected in the first half of 2019.

The developers of these projects expect all three Trains at Cameron LNG and two Trains at Freeport LNG to be placed in service in 2019.

“US LNG export capacity will reach 8.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by the end of 2019, making it the third-largest in the world behind Australia and Qatar,” forecast the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). “Currently, US LNG export capacity stands at 3.6 Bcf/d, and it is expected to end the year at 4.9 Bcf/d as two new liquefaction units become operational,” it added.

Actual US production at the end of 2019 will total 59.36 mtpa, comprising the partial output of new projects, including 9.96 mtpa from two completed processing Trains at Cameron LNG, 10.2 mtpa from two Trains at Freeport LNG and 9 mtpa from two Trains at Corpus Christi LNG.

These are added to existing output from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pas plant with five Trains and 22.5 mtpa of cargoes, 5.2 mtpa from Dominion Energy’s Cove Point plant in Maryland and 2.5 mtpa from the mid-scale Elba Island facility in the state of Georgia. The 0.33 Bcf/d Elba Island LNG facility near Savannah, Georgia, is also scheduled to become fully operational by the end of 2019.

EIA analysts expect the next wave of LNG exports to include four additional plants that are on the verge of taking final investment decisions. These were named as three Louisiana projects, Magnolia LNG, Delfin LNG and the Lake Charles project, as well as the Golden Pass in Texas. Added to this total will be a sixth Train at Sabine Pass.

“They are expected to make final investment decisions in the coming months. These proposed projects represent a combined additional LNG export capacity of 7.6 Bcf/d,” analysts said.