U.S. LNG Exports Projected to Jump in 2017
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects liquefied natural gas (LNG) gross exports will average 1.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, up from 0.5 Bcf/d in 2016. By the end of 2017, trains 1 through 4 at Cheniere's Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana are expected to be fully operational, and Cove Point LNG in Maryland is expected to come online.
The EIA projects gross LNG exports to average 2.8 Bcf/d in 2018, as Sabine Pass and Cove Point ramp up capacity and two new LNG facilities come online. Cameron LNG Train 1 is scheduled to come online in July, followed by Train 2 in November, and Freeport LNG is scheduled to come online in November. Both facilities are along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Cameron LNG trains 1 and 2 will add 1.1 Bcf/d of new liquefaction capacity, and Freeport Train 1 will add 0.7 Bcf/d. The new Cameron and Freeport liquefaction facilities will require a few months to ramp up and are projected to operate below nameplate capacity in 2018.
Total U.S. natural gas imports averaged 8.2 Bcf/d in 2016, and they are expected to average 8.3 Bcf/d in 2017 and 8.8 Bcf/d in 2018. The EIA projects that the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas on average in 2017, with net exports expected to average 0.4 Bcf/d. As LNG exports increase, 2018 net exports are forecast to be 1.3 Bcf/d.
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