U.S. LNG exports in April remained above the 300 Bcf mark for the sixth consecutive month due to robust demand in Europe and the U.K. as natural gas supply from Russia lags demand.
Domestically produced U.S. LNG exports from six departure terminals located in Georgia (one terminal), Louisiana (two), Maryland (one) and Texas (two) totaled 330.1 Bcf in April, down 9% sequentially compared to 363.8 Bcf in March. However, April’s volumes were up 8% compared to 306.7 Bcf in the same year-ago month, according to data published in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) June ‘LNG Monthly’ report.
Despite the recent hiccup in U.S. LNG export volumes, the weighted average price for the six U.S. terminals reached $9.94/MMBtu in April, up 13% sequentially compared to $8.81/MMBtu and up 74% year-over-year compared to $5.70/MMBtu.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas expects rising capacity and utilization to take U.S. LNG exports to around 13.4 Bcf/d by December, it announced on June 3 in its monthly ‘Energy Indicators’ update.
“Global natural gas prices have risen sharply over the past year, and domestic prices have not been immune to strong demand, waning inventories and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the Dallas bank said.
These market dynamics are spurring increased activities by U.S. midstream producers from Cheniere Energy Inc. to Freeport LNG to boost capacity via train addition projects or by others from Energy Transfer LP to Penn LNG pursuing projects to get into the LNG business.
LNG Exports by Terminal
U.S. gas producers continue to produce significant gas volumes which exceed domestic demand. Total U.S. gas supply averaged 101.7 Bcf/d between June 9-15, according to PointLogic data sourced by the U.S.-based Energy Information Administration. This compares to total gas demand of 90.6 Bcf/d.
Domestically Produced U.S. LNG Exports
|April 2021||March 2022||April 2022||Percentage Changes|
|Exports by Terminal (Bcf)||Month-over-month||Year-over-year|
|Sabine Pass, La.||108.9||130.5||124.6||-5%||14%|
|Cove Point, Md.||17.1||21.4||21.8||2%||27%|
|Corpus Christi, Texas||59.9||60.1||58.3||-3%||-3%|
|Elba Island, Ga.||9.4||8.7||10.8||24%||15%|
|Sabine Pass, La.||32||38||39||3%||22%|
|Cove Point, Md.||15||7||8||14%||-47%|
|Corpus Christi, Texas||18||19||17||-11%||-6%|
|Elba Island, Ga.||3||3||3||0%||0%|
|Weighted Average Price ($/MMBtu)||$5.70||$8.81||$9.94||13%||74%|
Much of the U.S. gas production robustness is thanks to three basins, which exhibited the highest volume increases in recent months. The basins include Haynesville, which spans the states of Texas and Louisiana, Marcellus (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York) and Permian (Texas and New Mexico), according to Enverus.
U.S. gas production gains continue to spur gains in LNG exports, despite a reduction in shipments in April. The six U.S. export terminals—in Georgia at Elba Island, in Louisiana at Sabine Pass and Cameron, in Maryland at Cove Point and in Texas at Corpus Christi and Freeport—shipped out a combined 11 Bcf/d in April.
Louisiana is home to the top two U.S. export terminals in terms of volumes and cargoes, according to the DOE. In April, the volumes moved by the two terminals represented 61% of the total U.S. LNG export volumes. The terminal in Sabine Pass exported 124.6 Bcf in 39 cargoes, while Cameron exported 75.4 Bcf in 25 cargoes.
Texas, geographically larger than Louisiana, is home to two terminals that represented 30% of the total U.S. LNG volumes shipped in April. The terminals in Corpus Christi and Freeport exported 58.3 Bcf (17 cargoes) and 39.3 Bcf (15 cargoes), respectively.
The remaining terminals, Cove Point in Maryland and Elba Island in Georgia, were responsible for just 10% of the U.S. LNG exports in April. The terminals exported 21.8 Bcf (8 cargoes) and 10.8 Bcf (3 cargoes), respectively.
U.S. LNG exports continue to reach markets worldwide. In April, the shipments primarily went to five top destination countries, which represented 54.1% of total shipments in that month, according to the DOE. The top destination was France, which received 56.3 Bcf, followed by Spain (40.3 Bcf), the U.K. (36.3 Bcf), the Netherlands (28.4 Bcf) and Poland (17.3 Bcf), in that order.
In comparison, the top five destinations for U.S. LNG exports in March included France, Spain, the U.K., the Netherlands and South Korea, which displaced Poland. In all, these top five destinations represented 61.8% of total LNG shipments in March.
A year ago in April 2021, the top five destinations were China, which received 46.8 Bcf, followed by France (36.1 Bcf), Japan (28.8 Bcf), Spain (23%) and South Korea (21.7%). Then, the top five destinations represented 51% of U.S. LNG exports.
While Europe and the U.K. are now receiving a lot of U.S. LNG, cumulatively shipments of domestically produced U.S. LNG between February 2016 and April 2022 have been primarily destined for East Asia and the Pacific with South Korea, Japan and China topping the list of the top 10 destinations. Thereafter, the destinations include Spain, the U.K., France, Brazil, India, Mexico and Turkey, according to DOE data, in that order.
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