If you believe the numbers published by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. will easily retain its ranking as the world’s leading exporter of LNG by 2030.

By then, back-of-the-envelope calculations pointed to U.S. LNG export capacity reaching 196 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) or 25.9 Bcf/d versus Qatari LNG export capacity of around 142 mtpa.

The U.S. gets there by adding 87.8 mtpa of capacity from five projects under construction at Corpus Christi, Golden Pass, Port Arthur, Venture Global Plaquemines and Rio Grande LNG. This compares to existing operating capacity of 108.4 mtpa, according to the DOE. This will allow the U.S. to boast an 81% liquefaction growth rate between now and 2030.

Qatar gets there by adding 65 mtpa of capacity to come from its North Field West project. This compares to existing operating capacity of 77 mtpa, or a growth rate just 84%.

Still, one needs to take into account that the average annualized utilization rate in the U.S. was 94% in 2023, compared to around 104% in Qatar, according to data firm Kpler.

In the LNG exporting space, the U.S. will outpace its fiercest competitor, Qatar, and both countries are expected to outpace Australia. As it stands for the LNG export Olympics, the medals would be awarded in 2030 like this: the Americans, gold; the Qataris, silver; and the Aussies, bronze.

And this will be the case despite the infamous “Biden pause” announced in January. And it’s no small feat, considering the U.S. joined the LNG exporter’s club as recently 2016 with the start of the first export train at Sabine Pass.

The DOE said the pause is designed to give the agency time to review applications for permits to export LNG to non-free trade agreement (non-FTA) countries, and for the DOE to update economic and environmental analysis to assess whether the applications were in the public interest.

The temporary nature of the pause was again stressed by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during CERAWeek by S&P Global in late March, when she said that within a year, the pause would “be well in the rearview mirror.”

And the numbers for the U.S. only get better.

Taking into account authorized projects not yet under construction, the U.S. has another 123.6 mtpa of export capacity tied to pending final investment decisions or FIDs.

That said, total U.S. export projects—operating, under construction and authorized—with non-FTA countries is 319.8 mtpa, a massive volume. And that doesn’t include 47.9 mtpa tied to LNG projects located in northwest Mexico that will source feedgas from the Permian Basin and serve LNG demand centers in Asia.

These figures compare similarly to bear and bull estimates from East Daley Analytics, which call for 204.9 mtpa and 262.6 mtpa, respectively, of LNG capacity by year end 2030.

Again, for its part, Qatari LNG export capacity is only expected to reach around 142 mtpa by the end of the decade, according to data from state entity Qatar Energy.

No doubt, the Biden pause has generated strong reactions within and outside the U.S. as future LNG demand estimates are large and mainly tied to Europe, but also Asia, as countries and regions from China, South Asia and Southeast Asia continue to switch from coal to gas. By 2040, LNG demand is expected to reach 625 mtpa to 685 mtpa, Shell revealed in a recent study. That’s up from 404 mtpa in 2023.

Executives from American gas producers and LNG exporting entities continue to argue the benefits of U.S. energy. They say American energy helps allies and other countries lower their greenhouse-gas emissions while providing energy security, especially in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which drastically interrupted the flow of gas to Europe and Asia.

While the Biden pause is real, it’s important to remember its temporary nature and the possibility of outright abandonment during the tribulations of a presidential election year. The U.S. and Qatar liquefaction build-outs are also real and the numbers point to the U.S. winning on that front by 2030 and even by 2050. Maybe it’s not a blowout, but it will still be a U.S. win and “Star-Spangled Banner”’ will still play during the medal ceremony.