In its March Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that it expected 2023 US LNG exports to average about 12 bill cu ft per day this year.
This is a 14% increase from 2022, and is in part, due to the Freeport LNG export facility returning to full service (see page 3 for an update).
In addition, as a result of less-than-expected domestic natural gas consumption, the US will close the withdrawal season at the end of this month with very high inventories.
The EIA also forecast that US LNG exports for 2024 would be a record 14 bill cu ft per day, as a result of more export facilities coming online.
However, both Russia and China remain sources of uncertainty in these forecasts.
The Freeport LNG terminal can produce more than 2.1 bill cu ft of LNG for export on a peak day, and its exports averaged 1.9 bill cu ft per day from January, 2021 through May, 2022, prior to the full shutdown of the facility in June, the EIA said.
Due to Freeport’s shutdown, US LNG exports averaged 10 bill cu ft from June, 2022 through December, 2022, after peaking at 11.7 bill in March.
The new Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility partially offset the decline in exports from Freeport, as it averaged 1.2 bill cu ft per day since June, 2022.
As for US natural gas consumption, the EIA said that it would average 99.1 bill cu ft per day in the first quarter of this year, down 5% from the same three months of 2022.
The US will close the withdrawal season at the end of March with over 1.9 trill cu ft of natural gas in storage, 23% higher than the five-year average and 27% more than was forecast in the January’s STEO.
Henry Hub natural gas spot prices are forecast to average about $3 per MMBtu in 2023, a drop of more than 50% from last year.
In the oil markets, the outlook forecast crude oil prices will fall from an average of $84 per barrel in the second quarter of 2023 to $81 per barrel in the fourth quarter and then average $78 a barrel in 2024.