U.S. Poised to Become World’s Biggest LNG Exporter, EIA Says
The United States will have the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity in 2022 once the sixth train at Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass terminal and Venture Global Inc.’s Calcasieu Pass facility come online in Louisiana next year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).*
At that point, peak U.S. LNG production capacity would hit 13.9 Bcf/d, far surpassing both Australia (11.4 Bcf/d) and Qatar (10.3/d Bcf), which are currently the world’s top two exporters, EIA said. However, it will take time for the new projects to ramp-up to full production and U.S. exports could be lower than available capacity.
Sabine Pass Train 6 and Calcasieu Pass LNG are currently being commissioned. Those processes, combined with soaring international demand for U.S. LNG amid a global supply crunch, recently pushed feed gas deliveries to U.S. export terminals to a record 12.43 Bcf on Nov. 26, according to NGI’s U.S. LNG Export Tracker.
The expansion at Sabine Pass would add about 760 MMcf/d to the nation’s export capacity. The 18 smaller, modular liquefaction trains at the Calcasieu Pass terminal would add 1.6 Bcf/d. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also recently authorized Cheniere to increase LNG exports by 261 Bcf/year after it maximized the output of its existing trains at the Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi plants.
Train 6 at Sabine Pass produced its first LNG late last month and is expected to be completed in 1Q2022. Chief Commercial Officer Anatol Feygin told Bloomberg at a recent industry event in Rome that commissioning cargoes would begin by the end of the year. Calcasieu Pass is expected to enter service next year and become the seventh U.S. export terminal in operation.
EIA noted that once Golden Pass LNG comes online in 2024, which is currently under construction in Sabine Pass, TX, peak U.S. LNG export capacity would hit 16.3 Bcf/d, or nearly 20% of current U.S. natural gas supply.
Federal regulators have approved another 10 LNG export projects and capacity expansions at existing terminals, including Cameron, Freeport and Corpus Christi, totaling 25 Bcf/d of new capacity, according to the EIA. The expansion projects, along with newbuilds such as Tellurian Inc.’s Driftwood LNG in Louisiana, are targeting 2022 final investment decisions.
*Correction: A previous version of this story misstated that the country will become the world’s largest LNG exporter next year. Instead, the United States will have the world’s largest export capacity. It takes time for new LNG export projects to ramp up to full production. As a result, export volumes could lag capacity. NGI regrets the error.
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