LNG exports: Moving closer to reality

Natural Gas Report
By Casey Whelan | June 26, 2013

May 31—In late May, the U.S. DOE issued an export license to the Freeport liquefied natural gas terminal. Once operational, the facility will have the capability to export 2 billion cubic feet (Bfc) per day of natural gas to foreign markets. This approval comes on the heels of DOE’s approval of Cheniere’s Sabine Pass project last year which initially will export 2 Bcf per day and could expand significantly beyond that level. These two projects alone will increase domestic natural gas demand by over 5 percent and more than 20 additional projects are in various stages of development. Even if fewer than half of these projects are approved and built, market demand will increase dramatically, possibly to a level that will test the ability to supply domestic and export natural gas markets at reasonable prices. There is a possibility that U.S. natural gas prices will rapidly move toward world natural gas prices.  

The relatively high natural gas prices in Europe and Asia explain why developers are trying to move natural gas out of the U.S. and into higher value markets. Naturally, as supply moves out of the U.S. and into foreign markets U.S. prices will tend to move up. How much is a function of the amount of supply that is exported. Over the next few years, U.S. Energy Services will continue to monitor the development of LNG export facilities since it’s believed they will have an impact on natural gas prices in the U.S.