Increased prices persisted as a fixture for international natural gas sales through the first half of this year, according to the latest trade scorecard by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

U.S. exports to Mexico led the gains with a 230% jump in prices to average $6.11/MMBtu for the first half of 2021 (1H2021), up from $1.85 for the same period of 2020. The DOE’s Gas Regulation division scorecard data is compiled from detailed industry disclosures.

Canadian exports to the United States scored the second biggest price improvement, increasing 78% to an average $3.14. This compares with an average price of $1.77 for the first six months of 2020.

The average price fetched by U.S. exports to Canada during 1H2021 increased by 59% to $3.01 from $1.89 in the year-ago period.

Overseas exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) reaped a 41% average price gain in 1H2021 to $6.05, from $4.98 in the same period of 2020.

LNG tanker prices ranged from $4.59 to $7.07, according to the DOE. Caribbean container ship deliveries fetched top dollar – $10 – but for the smallest volumes.

International gas trade volumes increased at the same time as prices rose.

As the North American international sales champion, the United States exported 3.25 Tcf, or 18 Bcf/d, in 1H2021. The total grew by 24% year/year from 2.62 Tcf, or 14.4 Bcf/d.

The U.S. export growth included 14.3% rise in Mexico sales to 1.05 Tcf, or 5.8 Bcf/d, and a 22% jump in LNG shipments to 1.7 Tcf, or 9.5 Bcf/d. Exports to Canada were unchanged at 469 Bcf, or 2.6 Bcf/d.

U.S. LNG cargoes sailed to 34 countries in the first half of 2021, DOE said. More than half of the deliveries went to the top five LNG destinations: China, South Korea, Japan, Brazil and India.

Second-place exporter Canada increased pipeline flows to the United States by 12% to 1.45 Tcf, or 8 Bcf/d. Mexican exports were negligible.