American Oil and Gas Reporter - August 2017 - 39

Industry In Motion

U.S. Reaching New Highs
For Natural Gas, Crude Oil
And Refined Product Exports
meeting increased demand from foreign
markets."
Pipeline exports accounted for 92 percent of total 2016 U.S. exports, with
Mexican exports increasing by 29 percent
to a new annual high of 2.3 Bcf. Pipeline
exports to Mexico more than doubled
between 2013 and 2016, and EIA projects
growth will continue as pipeline projects
now under construction are completed
and demand comes on line from new
Mexican natural gas-fired power plants.
North-bound pipeline exports to Canada
also grew last year to 771 Bcf, representing a 10 percent annual increase,
EIA reveals.
LNG Coming On Strong
Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass facility
in Cameron Parish, La., became the first
operating LNG export facility in the lower-48 in February 2016 when it loaded
its first cargo aboard the Asia Vision
(AOGR, March 2016, pg. 123). Since
that initial commissioning shipment to
Brazil, the facility has sent U.S. LNG to
receiving terminals in 23 nations in Asia,
Latin America, Europe and the Middle
East, according to Reuters shipping data.
5,000
4,500

Imports

Exports

In fact, Cheniere reports that Sabine Pass
loaded and shipped its 100th LNG cargo
in April.
Total LNG exports for the two active
trains at Sabine Pass (the second train
became operational last September) totaled
187 Bcf in 2016, according to EIA. Terminals in Chile, Mexico and China received 40 percent of the 2016 U.S. LNG
exports from Sabine Pass.
The third of six planned trains at
Sabine Pass was completed and commissioned in March, according to Cheniere, and the fourth train is scheduled to
commence operation later this year. When
the fourth train comes on line, Cheniere
says the terminal's daily send-out capacity
will be 18 million metric tons a year (2.6
Bcf/d), making Sabine Pass by far the
largest single consumer of U.S. natural
gas. A fifth train is under construction as
well, and has a projected 2019 startup
date, which would bring the total liquefaction capacity of Sabine Pass to 22.5
mtpa.
Sabine Pass was the departure point
for the first LNG tanker to transit the
newly expanded Panama Canal last summer, EIA points out. "The expansion of

Net Imports

4,000
3,500
Billion Cubic Feet

3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500

73
19
75
19
77
19
79
19
81
19
83
19
85
19
87
19
89
19
91
19
93
19
95
19
97
19
99
20
01
20
03
20
05
20
07
20
09
20
11
20
13
20
15

0

19

WASHINGTON-With natural gas exports increasing by 30 percent to a record
2.3 trillion cubic feet in 2016, U.S. natural
gas net imports (gross imports minus
gross exports) fell to 685 billion cubic
feet last year-an all-time low, according
to the U.S Energy Information Administration.
Even though gross natural gas imports
increased by 10 percent year-over-year
to 3.0 Tcf in 2015, EIA says, 2016 continued a trend of nine consecutive years
of declining net imports, thanks to strong
domestic output from shale plays and
rising U.S. export levels.
"In recent years, both U.S. natural gas
production and consumption have increased, although production has grown
slightly faster, reducing the reliance on
natural gas imports," the agency states in
a June 29 report. "Based on preliminary
data, 2016 domestic dry natural gas production was 26.49 Tcf, a 2 percent decrease
from the record level of 27.1 Tcf set in
2015, but more than 40 percent higher
than production levels 10 years ago."
Last year marked another important
milestone in the domestic market: setting
a new high point in natural gas usage.
"Preliminary data for 2016 show record
total natural gas consumption of 27.5
Tcf, mostly as a result of increases in the
electric power sector," EIA reports.
Looking at the import side of the
equation, Canadian pipeline imports increased by 11 percent year-over-year to
2.9 Tcf in 2016, accounting for more
than 97 percent of total U.S. gas imports,
according to EIA data. Liquefied natural
gas imports decreased by 3 percent to 88
Bcf in 2016, representing the secondlowest level since 1998.
But the big story is the historic expansion of natural gas exports, which is
proceeding with such speed that EIA
projects next year the United States will
become a net exporter of natural gas for
the first time in the post-World War II
era. "U.S. exports in 2016 were more
than three times larger than 10 years
ago," the agency notes. "Infrastructure
improvements, including natural gas
pipelines and facilities for liquefying natural gas for export, assisted suppliers in

With natural gas exports increasing by 30 percent, U.S. net natural gas imports fell for a
ninth consecutive year in 2016 to a record low of 685 Bcf. U.S. dry natural gas production
reversed the monthly declines of the first half of 2017 to grow by 0.9 Bcf/d in June, and
EIA forecasts rising dry gas output through 2017 and 2018 in response to higher prices
and climbing LNG export volumes.

AUGUST 2017 39



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