US Becomes Top LNG Exporter, Hits Record Highs in December

By Editor


December marked a historic milestone for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, breaking both monthly and annual records, positioning the nation to potentially surpass Qatar and Australia as the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2023, according to tanker tracking data.

The United States emerged as a standout in global LNG supply growth in 2023, witnessing a substantial rise to 8.6 million metric tons leaving U.S. terminals in December, as stated by Alex Munton, director of global gas and LNG research at Rapidan Energy Group.

Alex Munton attributed the record production to two primary factors: the return of Freeport LNG to full capacity, adding 6 million metric tons, and the annual output of Venture Global LNG’s Calcasieu Pass facility, contributing 3 million metric tons more than in 2022.

Annual exports surged by 14.7 percent to 88.9 million metric tons, primarily driven by the Freeport LNG plant’s complete recovery from a fire in 2022, alongside improved processing efficiency at other facilities, according to LSEG data. This marks a significant uptick from the 77.5 million metric tons exported in 2022.

Europe retained its position as the primary destination for U.S. LNG exports in December, accounting for over 61 percent of shipments, a slight dip from November’s 68 percent, primarily due to milder temperatures and higher storage levels in the region.

In contrast, Asia emerged as the second-largest market, receiving 26.6 percent of exports in December, up from 18.5 percent the previous month, while Latin America received approximately 6 percent of total exports, as per LSEG ship tracking data.

Natural gas flows to the major U.S. LNG export plants soared to an average of 14.9 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in January, surpassing December’s monthly record of 14.7 bcfd and the prior peak of 4.3 bcfd in November, according to LSEG data, Reuters news report said.

Against this backdrop, U.S. gas prices were trading at $2.55 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the Henry Hub in Louisiana, $9.81 per mmBtu at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) in Europe, and $11.52 per mmBtu at the Japan Korea Marker (JKM) in Asia as of Tuesday morning.

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