As LNG producers strive to boost liquefaction capacity, the U.S. is set to become the world’s largest exporter of LNG, surpassing Australia and Qatar.
The volume of LNG exported in May was 12 percent more than the corresponding period for the previous year, and up from 6.93 million tonnes exported in April. The export record of 7.67 million tonnes was achieved in March this year. Data was based on vessel tracking.
Additional capacity at Venture Global LNG’s new terminal in Louisiana and higher production at leading US exporter Cheniere Energy Inc. have boosted LNG exports from the United States.
The export growth has witnessed big consumers of LNG expressing concern over natural gas prices and domestic availability. Gas producers are under pressure to increase output to accommodate the growth in exports without hampering supply to domestic consumers.
In May, LNG producers in the United States exported two-thirds of supply to Europe in view of higher customer demand and anticipation of reduced gas supply from Russia. U.S. exports to Asia accounted for 15 percent of the total export volume, according to available data.
Overall exports from the U.S. grew to the second-highest level ever registered.
Demand for LNG in Europe is expected to ease as winter heating season ends, and inventories are built up. According to producers, this would pave the way for increased U.S. shipments to Asia and other parts of the world.
Rystad Energy analyst Lu Ming Pang said that if all factors remained constant, the industry could witness rebalancing of LNG supplies away from the region, which until now had been drawing in every available cargo.
Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the Dominican Republic were the main destinations for increased U.S. LNG shipments last month, as the winter season commenced in the Southern Hemisphere.
LNG producer Peru also ramped up exports to Europe in May, while shipments from Trinidad and Tobago fell for a third consecutive month.