U.S. net gas exports double in H1-2019 and keep growing
Start-up of two liquefaction trains – Cameron LNG Train 1 and Corpus Christi LNG Train 2 –have pushed total U.S. net gas exports to 4.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in the first half of this year, more than double pre-year levels. Apart from LNG, pipeline gas is exported to Canada and Mexico. As of June, total U.S. LNG export capacity reached 5.4 Bcf/d across four facilities and nine liquefaction trains – a significant rise compared with 2.0 Bcf/d net exports in 2018. Net natural gas exports is forecast to continue rising through the end of 2019 as additional LNG export capacity comes online and pipeline infrastructure in Mexico is placed into service. In its Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) foresees net gas exports averaging 4.6 Bcf/d in 2019 and 7.2 Bcf/d in 2020. Cameron Train, the fourth U.S. LNG placed into service since February 2016, was followed by Freeport LNG Train 1 and the small-scale Elba Island LNG venture. Together, these three project are seen to nearly double U.S. LNG export capacity to 8.9 Bcf/d by the end of 2020. Although U.S. LNG exports have grown substantially, most U.S. natural gas trade is transported via pipeline across shared borders with Canada and Mexico. In the first half of 2019, net exports of natural gas by pipeline to Mexico grew by 5%, and net exports of natural gas by pipeline to Canada remained relatively flat. Exports to Canada surged when the second phase of both the Rover pipeline and the new NEXUS pipeline entered service, allowing gas flows from the Appalachian Basin to the St. Clair point of exit northeast of Detroit. Deliveries to Mexico grew following the start-up of the Texas-Tuxpan pipeline, transporting gas from the U.S. Permian Basin.