A looming energy milestone for the U.S.

Dec 13, 2021

Ben German, Axios | December 9th, 2021U.S. liquefied natural gas export capacity will become the world's largest by the end of 2022 as new and expanded Gulf Coast facilities come online, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) said this month.

Why it matters: The milestone underscores U.S. emergence as a major crude oil and natural gas exporter as production from shale fields has boomed and crude export restrictions were lifted in 2015.

The big picture: Last year the U.S. became the world's third-largest LNG exporter behind Australia and Qatar, EIA notes, and now appears to have already pulled even with Qatar.

  • Asia has been the largest destination for U.S. LNG exports, while Europe and Latin America are also key destinations.
    Worth noting: The shale boom has led to an abundant domestic supply that enables exports while still meeting U.S. needs — preventing the kind of astronomical price increases seen in regions like Europe earlier this year.

By the numbers: EIA reports that U.S. exports averaged 10.7 billion cubic feet per day last month, a bump over October's levels that was supported by factors including "large differences" between gas prices in the U.S. compared to Europe and Asia.

What we're watching: On a yearly basis, EIA sees average exports this year at 50% above 2020 levels, rising another 17% next year to average 11.5 billion cubic feet per day.