The US Just Became a Net Exporter of Natural Gas
America’s energy scene has been in massive flux since the “shale miracle” broke in 2010.
And these past weeks, the US oil and gas industry set a milestone. Doing something never done before in American history.
Becoming a net exporter of natural gas.
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Platts reported Monday that its proprietary data showed US natgas exports exceeding imports in early November. With the country’s gas balance netting an outflow of 1 billion cubic feet per day.
That’s the first time ever that American producers have shipped out more gas than the country takes in. And that historic event illustrates a number of critical changes happening right now in the US energy scene.
One part of the equation is falling natgas imports into America. With November imports from key supplier Canada down 21% in November as opposed to October — to 4.5 billion cubic feet per day.
That’s coming as Canadian natgas prices have been rising compared to America’s Henry Hub benchmark. With Canadian prices averaging a $0.36/MMBtu discount to Henry Hub during November — notably more expensive that the $0.60/MMBtu discount that prevailed in October.
The bigger culprit is rising exports out of America. With natgas deliveries to the new Sabine Pass LNG export facility reportedly coming in at 1.5 billion cubic feet per day in November — up six-fold from the 249 million cubic feet per day the facility saw during October.
The last few weeks may in fact have marked the last we ever see net imports into America. With US exports now expected to ramp up sharply due to rising LNG shipments, as well as new projects to deliver pipeline gas exports to Mexico.
That’s a bit of good news for US natgas producers — which could see some buoyancy creeping into this market, as supply and demand finally normalize. Watch for more numbers on the import/export balance over the coming months.
Here’s to flipping it.
By Dave Forest
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