The leading role of the United States in North American natural gas exports grew while the former continental champion, Canada, faded in 2019, according to the latest trade scorecard by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
U.S. exports jumped by 29% and reached 38 countries last year, the federal agency said. Canadian cross-border gas sales still went only to the United States and dropped by 4.3%.
Total U.S. exports rose to 4.655 Tcf, or 12.8 Bcf/d in 2019, from 3.607 Tcf or 9.9 Bcf/d in 2018.
The 2019 U.S. exports topped the best Canadian performance ever — about 10 Bcf/d in 2007 — by nearly 3 Bcf/d. Canadian cross-border gas sales dipped last year to 2.786 Tcf or 7.6 Bcf/d, from 2.912 Tcf or 8 Bcf/d in 2018.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) stood out as the growth star. Tanker and container ship cargos of U.S.-sourced LNG sailed to 36 countries and increased by 68% to 1.818 Tcf or 5 Bcf/d in 2019, from 1.082 Tcf or 3 Bcf/d in 2018.
The LNG traffic nearly tied U.S. pipeline exports to Mexico, which rose by 10.5% to 1.865 Tcf or 5.1 Bcf/d last year, from 1.688 Tcf or 4.6 Bcf/d in 2018.
U.S. exporters also scored a gain in Canada, where their deliveries rose by 16% to 970.5 Bcf or 2.7 Bcf/d in 2019 from 836 Bcf or 2.3 Bcf/d in 2018.
Competition to sell high production volumes restrained international gas prices last year.
At the Mexican border, the annual average for U.S. gas fell by 22% to$2.57/MMBtu in 2019 from $3.30 in 2018.
Prices fetched for U.S. sales to Canada dropped by 18.6% to $2.72/MMBtu in 2019 from $3.34 in 2018.
LNG sold in a wide range from $3.62 in Malta to $10.00 for small container cargoes shipped to Haiti, the Bahama Islands and Barbados.
The largest overseas destinations for American gas — 266.1 Bcf shipped to South Korea and 201.9 Bcf sent to Japan — accounted for 26% of 2019 U.S. LNG exports. Prices averaged $4.56 in South Korea and $6.27 in Japan.
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