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EIA: US LNG imports reach historic lows in 1H22

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,


In the first six months of 2022, US LNG imports reached their lowest level in at least 15 years, averaging 77 million ft3/d, compared with the five-year (2017 – 2021) average for the same period of 174 million ft3/d. LNG imports are usually at their highest level in the winter months of October through March. This past winter, LNG imports averaged 93 million ft3/d, which is significantly lower than in the winter of 2006 – 2007, when LNG imports averaged 1.8 billion ft3/d.

As a share of US total natural gas imports, LNG imports accounted for less than 1% in 2021, down from almost 17% in 2007. LNG imports peaked in April 2007 at 3.3 billion ft3/d, and they accounted for almost 26% of total natural gas imports. Over the past five years, LNG imports were at their highest level in January 2018 averaging 0.5 billion ft3/d, or almost 6% of total natural gas imports that month.

Before 2010, the US was expanding its LNG import infrastructure. Eight LNG import terminals were built between 2005 and 2011, increasing the number of US terminals to 12. Domestic dry natural gas production began to grow rapidly around the same time and eventually many of those LNG import terminals were reconfigured into LNG export terminals.

US dry natural gas production grew by nearly 80% from 2007 to 2021, displacing LNG imports, which declined rapidly during this period. Natural gas production has increased primarily in three production regions — Appalachia, Permian, and Haynesville. Production from the Appalachian Basin, which includes the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the Northeast, accounted for 31% of total US natural gas production in 2021.

With the growth in natural gas production, several pipeline projects were completed, improving the delivery of natural gas supplies from producing regions to consumption centres across most of the country. However, even after the completion of some projects, such as the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, supplies by pipeline into the New England market can be constrained during periods of peak demand. As a result, New England continues to rely on LNG imports, particularly during the winter when demand for natural gas is high. On peak demand days, imported LNG can contribute up to 35% of New England’s natural gas supply.

LNG imports can be a key marginal source of supply during times of high demand and help moderate natural gas prices. Almost all LNG imported into the US today is delivered into the New England market at the import terminals in the Boston, Massachusetts, area— Constellation Energy’s Everett LNG Facility in Boston Harbor and Excelerate Energy’s Northeast Gateway in Massachusetts Bay. From November 2021 through March 2022, nine vessels carrying LNG from Trinidad and Tobago delivered 16.8 billion ft3 of LNG to the two terminals.

Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/23092022/eia-us-lng-imports-reach-historic-lows-in-1h22/

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