The United States is rapidly becoming a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in 60 years.
That's according to data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While imports of gas are flat or falling, exports continue to rise, and the data give weight to government analysts’ conviction that the United States is on track to become a net energy exporter, possibly as soon as within a decade.
EIA noted in a report yesterday that during the first half of 2017, the United States exported more natural gas than it imported in three of the first five months.
New Census Bureau data show that, by value, the United States was again a net exporter in June 2017, selling about $593 million worth of natural gas to the world while importing $566 million via gas pipelines from Canada and as liquefied natural gas.
That means the United States sold more gas to foreign trade partners than it imported for four of the first six months of the year. With new pipeline and LNG export capacity coming online soon, the United States should close out 2017 as a net exporter of natural gas, a situation that hasn't been seen since 1957, according to EIA.
Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass became the first major LNG exporting hub to commence shipments since the shale gas boom. That facility is now poised to expand export capacity. Freeport LNG south of Houston expects to begin liquefaction and shipments in late 2018 or early 2019. Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG in Maryland will be in service by the end of this year, the company says. More projects are coming in Corpus Christi, Texas; elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico region; and at Georgia’s Elba Island.
Proponents of these investments say LNG and other gas exports will help alleviate the United States’ gargantuan trade deficit.