US LNG exports remain unchanged even after Freeport LNG restarts


By Marianna Parraga

HOUSTON, March 2 (Reuters) – US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports were flat at 6.84 million tons last month, shipments data showed on Thursday, even as a long-shutdown processing plant in Texas amid an ongoing restart started shipping the fuel.

Freeport LNG’s Texas facility, the second-largest LNG export facility in the United States, began resuming some processing and export operations in February after a fire caused an eight-month outage.

Refinitiv Eikon data showed Thursday that the plant is on track to pull about 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas from pipelines, a sign it likely has started the second of its three liquefaction trains.

A total of 96 LNG shipments set sail from US ports last month, according to trade data from Eikon. The quantity shipped was about the same as in January.

Over 68% of exported cargo went to Europe, which became the top destination last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted supplies. At least 15% of the cargoes went to Asia, mostly through the Panama Canal, the data showed.

Although Freeport’s LNG outage has limited US LNG exports, the US Gulf Coast is preparing for significant new capacity as construction begins on projects that would deliver over 50 million tons of new exports per year.

Capital expenditures for LNG projects in the region are expected to reach $15 billion by 2025, up from about $5 billion in 2022, consultancy Rystad Energy said in a note to clients this week.

“The pace of this growth far exceeds what the region has experienced in the past and will weigh significantly on the job market,” said Rystad’s senior vice president Matthew Fitzsimmons, adding that 17 greenfield projects will start construction during the peak season become.

According to Eikon data, US LNG exports peaked in March 2022 at 7.67 million tons.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Susan Fenton)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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