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US natural gas imports plummet

LNG Industry,

According to research from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US net imports of natural gas decreased 9% in 2014.

Net natural gas imports (imports minus exports) totalled 1171 billion ft3 in 2014, the lowest level since 1987.

Pipeline imports

Imports by pipeline from Canada account for almost 98% of all US natural gas imports, and were the main driver of the decrease in total imports. Net imports from Canada represented 7% of total US natural gas consumption in 2014, down from 11% in 2009.

US natural gas exports also decreased in 2014, but at a slower rate than the decrease in imports, and were still 9% above the previous five-year average. Natural gas exports to Mexico, which account for almost 50% of US natural gas exports, increased 12% in 2014.

LNG imports

Net imports of LNG in 2014 totalled 43 billion ft3, down 54% from the level in 2013 and continuing a five-year decline. LNG exports increased from 2013 levels, but not enough to offset a nearly 40% decrease in total LNG imports in 2014.

Net imports of natural gas have varied significantly around the country. New production from shale and other tight resources has helped to displace imports in certain regions.

Regional trends

Inflows of natural gas from Canada were equivalent to 50-80% of New York’s natural gas consumption as late as 2008. In 2014, however, outflows of US produced natural gas through pipelines that crossed into Canada through New York state exceeded inflows of Canadian gas through pipelines into that state, as increased production from the Marcellus region outpaced regional demand.

Pipeline outflows of natural gas crossing into Canada through Michigan and Minnesota exceeded inflows of natural gas, but inflows increased and outflows decreased in 2014, likely because of increased demand during the winter months of 2014.

Natural gas exports to Mexico through pipelines crossing the international border in Texas, California, and Arizona increased to a record 706 billion ft3 in 2014 to meet increasing demand from new gas-fuelled power plants in Mexico. Higher production of natural gas from the US Gulf Coast and the Eagle Ford Shale in southern Texas contributed to the increase in exports to Mexico.

Edited from EIA press release by Katie Woodward

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