Thanks to the shale revolution over the past decade, growing production and exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has quickly become one of America’s greatest success stories.
Last year, GEI reported that a record 27 countries were receiving LNG from the United States, with China overtaking Japan as the top natural gas importer. Just one year later, global gas demand continues to grow as more U.S. export facilities come online. Now, there are about 35 countries welcoming U.S. LNG to meet their energy needs.
U.S. LNG exports more than quintupled from 2016 to 2018, reaching a record of nearly 1.1 tcf in 2018. According to a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, within five years, the United States will surpass both Qatar and Australia to become the world’s largest LNG exporter. This continued growth is remarkable and generates significant benefits both at home and abroad.
Meanwhile, global natural gas demand rose nearly 5 percent between 2017 and 2018, according to IEA. Through 2024, demand will be driven by the Asia Pacific region, which is forecast to account for nearly 60 percent of the total consumption increase – mainly in China. In this win-win-win scenario, Asian countries are increasingly turning to cleaner natural gas from the United States to sustain their own fast-paced economic growth while simultaneously decreasing energy-related emissions.
Members of Congress and industry representatives underlined the vast global impact of American LNG at a Senate Energy & Natural Resources Full Committee Hearing last week on the Important Role of U.S. LNG in Evolving Global Markets. In her opening remarks, Chairman Lisa Murkowski described America’s ongoing growth in natural gas production and LNG exports:
“American natural gas production had literally changed the game… our production has soared to levels that many never even thought possible… this, in turn, is boosting our economy as well as our national security. It is providing a long-term, low-cost, low-emission source of energy for our manufacturers and residential consumers alike. And we have such a massive resource base that we can send substantial resources abroad. … We have gone from just dreaming about being a player to being THE player in many ways.”
Dennis Arriola, Executive Vice President and Group President of Sempra Energy, was among the witnesses testifying at the hearing. GEI featured Mr. Arriola in two of our Energy Innovates videos, which highlighted Sempra’s innovative approach to battery storage and wildlife management.
Mr. Arriola underscored the vital role LNG plays in leading the global transition to cleaner energy, balancing U.S. trade relations, and bolstering international cooperation. He noted:
“LNG exports provide a path to a cleaner environment worldwide, a reduction in our trade deficit with other countries, an opportunity to build stronger international relationships, all while creating jobs in the U.S. and improving our domestic economy.”
He also spelled out the ever-increasing benefits that result from an abundance of American natural gas:
“The abundance of natural gas is great for domestic consumers as it means lower prices, and a welcome relief to international customers as they now have a strong, reliable and affordable supplier in the U.S. that can help countries meet their growing energy needs. The U.S. accounts for 22% of global gas production and is on track to be the largest exporter of LNG in the world by 2024.”
Exporting low-priced, clean-burning natural gas to allied nations and trading partners who need it not only benefits the United States economy by injecting new revenue and creating more jobs; it greatly strengthens our nation’s geopolitical position and trade balance. And it it’s not stopping anytime soon.
As IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol recently said:
“The second wave of the U.S. shale revolution is coming. It will see the United States account for 70 percent of the rise in global oil production and some 75 percent of the expansion in LNG trade over the next five years. This will shake up international oil and gas trade flows, with profound implications for the geopolitics of energy.”
The success of American LNG drives home every aspect of our “American Energy: Cleaner, Stronger” agenda, outlining our commitment to supporting national energy policies that promote innovation, lower emissions and foster economic growth. This “Cleaner, Stronger” agenda, driven in part by natural gas and LNG, continues to help America address climate change through realistic solutions while improving our national economy and our position as a global energy leader.
So as we continue to add more “places U.S. LNG will go,” we can celebrate a stronger economy, cleaner air, bolstered energy security and stronger trade relationships around the world.
Jul 12 2019
By Matt Letourneau