Exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana declined from February to March, new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) data show. There also was a slight shuffling of the top five destination countries.
During March, LNG vessel exports were 43.5 Bcf, which was down from the 52 Bcf exported in February -- the highest level since Lower 48 exports began in February 2016. January saw the export of 51.2 Bcf. There have been no vessel re-exports from the Lower 48 of previously imported LNG since last August.
“The outlook for U.S. LNG exports over the remaining 7.5 months of 2017 looks extremely favorable,” said Fred H. Hutchison, executive director of LNG export advocate LNG Allies and natural gas advocate Our Energy Moment. “In its Q1 2017 earnings presentation, Cheniere indicated that progress on Train 4 at Sabine Pass remains on schedule, and Dominion’s Cove Point (single train) is also expected later in 2017. This should mean that the U.S. will have more than 23 million tons per annum of liquefaction capacity online by year-end.”
U.S. LNG during March departed by vessel for South Korea, Mexico, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Kuwait and Chile, according to the latest LNG Monthly. Separately during March, 20.35 MMcf of containerized LNG was exported to Barbados from Florida, all at an export point price of $10/MMBtu.
“While everyone remains focused -- and rightfully so -- on the output from the major LNG liquefaction facilities, we believe that the export of LNG in ISO containers is also likely to experience slow but steady growth in the coming years,” Hutchison said. “The Caribbean is a natural destination for such trade, but other parts of the world are logical as well, especially ports without the requisite channel depth to accommodate large LNG vessels.”
Prices at the point of export for vessel exports ranged from a low of $3.02/MMBtu to a high of $6.02/MMBtu, which includes liquefaction fees. The highest price at point of export during March excluding liquefaction fees was $5.37/MMBtu, which was for a spot cargo that was sent to Dominican Republic.
Counting LNG exported from February 2016 through March, the top five destinations for U.S. LNG are Mexico, Chile, China, Japan, and Jordan. In DOE’s previous monthly report, with data through February, the top five destination countries were Mexico, Chile, China, Japan and India.