According to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) February 2021 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), US LNG exports will exceed natural gas exports by pipeline in the first and fourth quarters of 2021 and on an annual basis in 2022.
Monthly US LNG exports exceeded natural gas exports by pipeline by nearly 1.2 billion ft3/d in November 2020, according to EIA’s Natural Gas Monthly. LNG exports have only exceeded natural gas exports by pipeline once since 1998 – in April 2020 – by 0.01 billion ft3/d.
US LNG exports set consecutive monthly records of 9.4 billion ft3/d in November and of 9.8 billion ft3/d in both December 2020 and January 2021, according to EIA’s estimates based on the shipping data provided by Bloomberg Finance, L.P. EIA forecasts that US LNG gross exports will average 9.7 billion ft3/d in February 2021 before declining to seasonal lows in the shoulder months of the spring and fall seasons. EIA forecasts LNG exports to average 8.5 billion ft3/d in 2021 and 9.2 billion ft3/d in 2022, compared with average gross pipeline exports of 8.8 billion ft3/d in 2021 and 8.9 billion ft3/d in 2022.
Since November 2020, all six US LNG export facilities have been operating near full design capacity. In December, the Corpus Christi LNG facility in Texas commissioned its third and final liquefaction unit six months ahead of schedule, bringing the total US liquefaction capacity to 9.5 billion ft3/d baseload (10.8 billion ft3/d peak) across six export terminals. The November – January increase in US LNG exports has been driven by rising international natural gas and LNG prices, particularly in Asia, and lower global LNG supply because of unplanned outages at several LNG export facilities worldwide.
US pipeline exports to Mexico increased by 6.4% in the first eleven months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019 as a result of the completion of a new segment of the Wahalajara pipeline system in June and the Cempoala compressor station in September. The completion of Mexico’s Samalayuca-Sásabe pipeline (0.47 billion ft3/d capacity) in January 2021 and the expected completion of Tula-Villa de Reyes pipeline (0.89 billion ft3/d capacity) later this year are expected to further increase US pipeline exports to Mexico.
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The February 2021 issue of World Pipelines includes: a report on Australasian pipelines; an interesting look at the need to protect pipeline information from the Freedom of Information Act (USA); analysis of Ukraine’s place in the global gas sector; and technical articles on subsea repair, coatings, ILI and SCADA systems.
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