The US government forecasts liquefied natural gas exports will increase by 14 percent in 2023 and as a result of less-than-expected natural gas consumption the nation will close the withdrawal season at the end of March with very high inventories.
LNG exports will average 12 billion cubic feet per day this year and the shipments are seen increasing by an additional 5 percent in 2024, according to the Short-Term Energy Outlook for March issued by the Energy Information Administration.
The high LNG exports in 2023 and 2024 are the result of Freeport LNG’s return to service and other export projects under construction coming on stream by the end of 2024.
“The Freeport LNG terminal can produce more than 2.1 Bcf percent of LNG for export on a peak day, and exports from Freeport averaged 1.9 Bcf per day from January 2021 through May 2022, prior to the full shutdown of the facility in June 2022,” said the EIA.
“Because of the Freeport shutdown, US LNG exports averaged 10.0 Bcf per day from June 2022 through December 2022, after peaking at 11.7 Bcf/ per day in March,” explained the EIA’s Outlook.
“The new Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility partially offset the decline in exports from Freeport LNG, with exports from Calcasieu Pass averaging 1.2 Bcf per day since June 2022,” the report added.
The EIA stated that once all three Trains at Freeport return to service, US LNG exports are forecast to exceed 12 Bcf per day in most months for the rest of the forecast period.
“We forecast that US LNG exports will increase to 14 Bcf per day by December 2024 because new LNG export capacity from three major projects under construction are scheduled to come online,” said the Outlook.
On natural gas consumption, the EIA sad that it would average 99.1 Bcf per day in the first quarter of 2023, down 5 percent from the same three months of 2022.