The amount of gas sent to LNG export terminals is on the rise and deliveries to foreign markets are expected to increase, even without the Freeport LNG terminal in Texas. Photo courtesy of Freeport LNG.
Jan. 13 (UPI) -- While the global energy sector looks for replacements for Russian natural gas, the U.S. government reported that natural gas deliveries to LNG export terminals increased by nearly 10% from week-ago levels.
Data from the Energy Information Administration, part of the Energy Department, show the amount of natural gas sent to facilities that can export that in the super-cooled liquid form increased from 11.6 billion cubic feet on average to 12.7 billion cubic feet during the seven-day period ending Wednesday.
EIA said natural gas consumption, production and exports all broke records last year and there's more to come. Gas production in January alone is on pace for a 0.5% increase from the prior month."
"We expect production in both the Permian region in West Texas and Southeast New Mexico and in the Haynesville region in Louisiana and East Texas to continue to grow with the completion of new pipeline infrastructure expansions in 2023 and 2024," EIA said in its latest monthly forecast.
That, in turn, should support an increase in export volumes of LNG. Twenty-four vessels laden with LNG left U.S. export terminals during the reporting period, carrying 90 billion cubic feet of product.
By comparison, 14 vessels loaded with a combined 51 billion cubic feet of LNG left during the same period in 2020, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Higher LNG export volumes, meanwhile, are displacing natural gas sent to Europe from Russia. EIA said that more than 60% of the LNG delivered from the United States found its way to Europe last year.
EIA expects LNG exports to increase this year, from last year's average of 10.7 billion cubic feet per day to 12.1 billion cubic feet per day.
That comes, meanwhile, as the United States is down one export terminal. The Freeport LNG terminal in Texas has been idled since a June explosion at the facility. Operations have not resumed despite expectations of a December restart.
When it is in service, Freeport is the second-largest facility of the kind in the United States.