Just three years after it began sending liquefied natural gas overseas, America now trails only Australia and Qatar in the volume of the fuel it’s capable of exporting. The US jumped ahead of Malaysia with the startup of Cheniere Energy Inc’s LNG terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, data from BloombergNEF show. And the race is just getting started: US export capacity, currently accounting for 8% of the world total, will more than double as projects under construction are completed. More than a dozen projects are vying to be part of the so-called second wave of US LNG development, seeking to capitalise on the surge of production from shale basins. Though global gas demand is climbing as nations switch to the cleaner-burning fuel from coal, American shipments will compete with supplies from Qatar and Russia.
Cheniere shipped the first cargo from Corpus Christi in December, and a fifth LNG production unit at its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana received US approval this month to start service. Though the US is already in third place in terms of global export capacity, the Cheniere projects “will be what nudges the US up to third place in terms of supply into market – overtaking Malaysia on export volumes, including on a monthly basis,” Fauziah Marzuki, an analyst with BNEF in Singapore, said in an e-mail. “Russia isn’t too far behind” as it exports from Siberia, but America should have the lead with the startup of three more terminals this year, she said.
Sources and photo-credits: Bloomberg, Gulf Times