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EIA: US natural gas trade will continue to grow with the start-up of new LNG export projects

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LNG Industry,

In the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recently released Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), it forecasts that US LNG exports will continue to lead growth in US natural gas trade as three LNG export projects currently under construction start operations and ramp up to full production by the end of 2025. The EIA also forecasts increased natural gas exports by pipeline, mainly to Mexico. In the STEO forecast, net exports of US natural gas (exports minus imports) grow 6% from 2023 in 2024 to 13.6 billion ft3/d. In 2025, net exports increase another 20% to 16.4 billion ft3/d.

The EIA forecast that US LNG exports increase 2% in 2024 to average 12.2 billion ft3/d. In 2025, it forecasts that LNG exports grow by an additional 18% (2.1 billion ft3/d). It forecasts US natural gas exports by pipeline to grow by 3% (0.3 billion ft3/d) in 2024 and by 4% in 2025. The EIA expects pipeline imports to decline by 0.4 billion ft3/d in 2024 and then increase slightly (0.1 billion ft3/d) in 2025.

In 2024 – 2025, the EIA forecasts that existing US LNG export facilities will run at similar utilisation rates as in 2023. Annual maintenance typically occurs in the spring and autumn, when global LNG demand is lower and temperatures are mild. In April and May 2024, the EIA expects LNG exports to decline while two of the three trains at the Freeport LNG export facility undergo annual maintenance. Later in 2024, it expects that Plaquemines LNG Phase I and Corpus Christi Stage 3 will begin LNG production and load first cargoes by the end of the year. In 2025, the developers of Golden Pass LNG plan to place in service the first two trains of this new three-train LNG export facility.

The EIA forecasts an increase in US natural gas pipeline exports to Mexico as several pipelines in Mexico – Tula-Villa de Reyes, Tuxpan-Tula, and Cuxtal Phase II connecting to the Energía Mayakan pipeline on the Yucatán Peninsula – become fully operational in 2024 – 2025. These pipelines started partial service in 2022 – 2023 but have not been operating at full capacity. Also, flows via the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan underwater pipeline are likely to increase slightly in 2024 when it begins delivering natural gas from the US to Mexico’s first LNG export project, Fast LNG Altamira.

US natural gas pipeline imports from Canada remained relatively unchanged over the last two years (2022 – 2023), averaging 8.1 billion ft3/d. The EIA expects pipeline imports from Canada to remain a key supply source, particularly for the US Midwest region during winter months.

US LNG imports, which primarily serve New England and generally peak in winter months, declined slightly in 2023, mainly because of record-warm winter weather. The EIA expects LNG imports to average about 0.1 billion ft3/d in 2024 – 2025 and continue to serve as a marginal supply source during periods of high demand, particularly in the winter months.

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US LNG news EIA LNG news