Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 7th of July, 2017 to The Sounding Line.
In a spot of good news for the economy and for energy independence, the US officially became a net exporter of natural gas in April, as exports surpassed imports for the first time in decades.
Historically, US natural gas imports, and to a lesser degree exports, have been restricted to Canada and Mexico where pipeline connections permitted the transportation of the gaseous fuel. Over many years, Mexican natural gas production has fallen while US natural gas production has risen, turning large imports of natural gas into large exports of natural gas to Mexico. Remarkably, the US now provides just under half of all of the natural gas consumed in Mexico.
In addition to pipeline exports to Mexico, since 2016, the US has seen its liquid natural gas (LNG) exports rocket higher. Natural has can be compressed into a liquid and shipped in large specialized ships. While this is an energy intensive and expensive process, it eliminates the geographic restrictions associated with building pipelines and has opened up US natural gas exports to the entire world. The first and only industrial scale LNG export terminal in the US, the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana, opened for business in February 2016 and the results have been dramatic.
There are now a handful of additional LNG export terminal projects in various phases of development on the gulf, east, and west coasts of the US. With their completion, one should expect the US will see its natural gas exports continue to grow