Agency Report Projects U.S. Natural Gas Exports Will Quadruple This Year

A government report on Tuesday forecast U.S. liquefied natural gas exports will quadruple this year, a projection that could bolster the Trump administration’s promotion of American “energy dominance.”

Gross LNG exports are expected to average 1.9 billion cubic feet per day in 2017, compared with 0.5 billion cubic feet last year, and rise to 2.8 billion cubic feet in 2018 as new LNG facilities come online, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The federal agency said the increase in exports is being driven by international demand from countries with low natural gas resources.

The report comes a week after President Donald Trump met with European leaders to discuss increasing LNG exports, amid a push to promote the dominance of U.S. energy.

“The availability of LNG to Europe is important because it creates a more diverse European gas market, which can help to prevent over-reliance on gas from a single source, such as Russia,” Richard Morningstar, director of the Global Energy Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said in an interview on Tuesday.

EIA projects LNG gross exports will average 1.9 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. 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 of new capacity. 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.

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