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With Cove Point Shale Gas Exports Underway, ICE’s Updated Product Reflects Shifting Market

With exports underway at Dominion Energy Inc.’s Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Lusby, MD, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has launched a physical trading product to reflect the changing market dynamics at the facility.

The new “Dominion Energy - Cove Point - on system delivery” product was begun on June 11 to reflect the physical market for deliveries into Dominion’s LNG terminal for liquefaction and export. The prior Cove Point market, which had been set up for receiving natural gas from LNG imports, was delisted simultaneously, officials with ICE confirmed to NGI.

NGI has since updated the Cove Point location in both NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index and NGI’s MidDay Price Alert to reflect the changes to ICE’s Cove Point physical product.

Cove Point was trading 11 cents higher at $3.110/MMBtu on 20,000 MMBtu of reported volume, according to Wednesday’s MidDay Price Alert.

For Tuesday’s trade date in NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index, day-ahead prices at Cove Point averaged $3.00/MMBtu on 390,000 MMBtu of reported volume.

Built in the 1970s to import LNG supplies, Dominion acquired the Cove Point terminal in 2002. Responding to the rapid rise of U.S. onshore gas output over the last decade, Dominion recently finished adding liquefaction and export capabilities at the facility, which is situated along the Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast.

In March, Cove Point became the second U.S. facility to export LNG from the Lower 48 after Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass LNG terminal. A little over a month later in April, Cove Point officially entered commercial service.

Cove Point and Sabine are part of a wave of domestic LNG export capacity expected to make the United States one of the world’s top exporters over the next half decade. With shale development driving growth in U.S. natural gas supplies, LNG exports are expected to be needed to balance the market in the years ahead.

Much of the forecast natural gas production growth is expected to come from the Marcellus and Utica shales in the Northeast as producers drill to meet commitments on new pipeline capacity. Exports departing the East Coast via Cove Point could benefit Northeast producers in a market where demand growth is expected to be focused in the Gulf Coast and Southeast.

Cove Point's marketed capacity is fully subscribed under 20-year service agreements. Pacific Summit Energy LLC, a U.S. affiliate of Japan's Sumitomo Corp., as well as Gail (India) affiliate Gail Global (USA) LNG LLC, have each contracted for half of the marketed capacity. Sumitomo has agreements to serve Tokyo Gas Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc.

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