US LNG export capacity to double by end 2019

Thursday, 20 December 2018
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The US Energy Information Association (EIA) forecasts that US LN export capacity will reach 8.9 bill cu ft per day by the end of 2019. 

This will make the US the third largest exporter in the world behind Australia and Qatar. Currently, US LNG export capacity stands at 3.6 bill cu ft per day, and it is expected to end the year at 4.9 bill cu ft per day, as two new liquefaction trains become operational.

The US began exporting LNG from the Lower 48 states in February, 2016, when the Sabine Pass liquefaction terminal in Louisiana shipped its first cargo. Since then, Sabine Pass has expanded from one to four operating liquefaction trains, and the Cove Point LNG export facility began operation in Maryland.

Two more trains—Sabine Pass Train 5 and Corpus Christi LNG Train 1—began LNG production this year, several months ahead of schedule, and are expected to ship their first cargoes within the next few weeks, the EIA said.

Commissioning

In addition, another two LNG export facilities—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 next year. The project developers expect all three Cameron LNG trains and two Freeport LNG trains to be come onstream in 2019.

The Elba Island LNG facility near Savannah, Georgia, is also scheduled to become fully operational by the end of next year. Project developers expect LNG production from the first train to begin early next year and from the remaining nine trains to commence sequentially through the rest of 2019.

The second Corpus Christi train is scheduled to be enter service in the second quarter of 2019. The final two trains of the US liquefaction projects currently under construction—Freeport Train 3 and Corpus Christi Train 3—are expected to be operational in the second quarters of 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Four additional export terminals—Magnolia LNG, Delfin LNG, Lake Charles, Golden Pass—and the sixth train at Sabine Pass, have been approved by both the US Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the US Department of Energy (DoE), and they are expected to make final investment decisions (FID) in the coming months.

These proposed projects represent a combined additional LNG export capacity of 7.6 bill cu ft per day.

US LNG exports continue to increase with this growing capacity. EIA’s latest ‘Short-Term Energy Outlook’ forecasts exports to average 2.9 bill cu ft in 2018 and 5.2 bill cu ft per day in 2019.

The latest information on the status of US liquefaction facilities, including expected online dates and capacities, is available in EIA’s database of US LNG export facilities, the administration said.

****The LNG market faces a more complex outlook, VesselsValue said.

The global thirst for cleaner fuels has continued to increase and hire rates for ships remain near $200,000 per day.

However, a warm winter in China thus far has depressed some of the immediate demand, and tonne/miles have nudged downward.

The long term prospects are promising, but the market has likely peaked for now, VesselsValue said. 

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