US Records Second-Highest LNG Export Volumes in October
- 06-Nov-2023 11:56 AM
- Journalist: Gabreilla Figueroa
In October, US LNG producers significantly increased their exports, reaching 7.92 million metric tons. This surge in exports marked the second-highest monthly level on record, coming close to the record of 8.01 million metric tons achieved in April of the same year. This substantial increase followed a decrease in US production in September, primarily due to plant maintenance.
The United States established itself as the world's largest LNG exporter during the first half of the year, surpassing countries such as Qatar and Australia, according to data from the Energy Information Agency. Furthermore, there are plans for two new export facilities in Louisiana, which combined could add an annual capacity of 38 million tons and are scheduled to commence production next year.
The boost in exports can be attributed to the increase in production at Cheniere Energy and Venture Global LNG facilities, which compensated for the decline in output at Berkshire Hathaway Energy's Cove Point terminal in Maryland. This temporary production reduction was a result of a 12-day maintenance outage.
Europe remained the primary destination for US LNG, with a notable 8% increase, accounting for 60% of all US LNG exports in October. In contrast, Asian customers represented 20% of exports, a decrease from the 30% share in the preceding month. Latin America's share also decreased, taking 5% of the total cargo, down from 8% in September.
The growing demand for US gas in Europe is partly attributed to Russia's reduction in pipeline supplies, and the geopolitical tensions following its invasion of Ukraine, which led to several countries reconsidering their energy imports from Russia. Additionally, underground gas storage facilities in Europe have reached near-full capacity. Meanwhile, some Asian LNG buyers have exhibited hesitancy in their recent LNG purchases.
Asia benchmark LNG prices have surged by 70% since the beginning of August, driven by concerns about supply constraints, maintenance issues in Norwegian gas fields, and labor disputes in Australia. Analysts at Morgan Stanley have noted these price increases. They predict that under normal winter conditions in the northern hemisphere, global inventories are likely to remain high, and weaker demand could gradually lead to a decline in prices.
Despite potential price fluctuations, the overall outlook for the LNG market appears positive. Production output is expected to continue its upward trajectory. According to LNG shipping and brokering firm Poten & Partners, there are numerous LNG plants under construction in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, with the combined capacity to generate 100 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG. This further underscores the industry's growth potential and its role in meeting global energy demands.