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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

US outranks Qatar as world’s top LNG exporter for first time ever

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The Gulf state is moving towards becoming the largest liquified natural gas [LNG] producer by 2030.

The US emerged as the world’s top LNG exporter for the first time ever during December last year, surpassing leading gas producer Qatar, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Based on ship-tracking data compiled by the news agency, Washington’s ranking came after it ramped up its exports through the Sabine Pass—the US’ biggest LNG export plant—and Freeport facilities.

The expansion of infrastructure at gas facilities together with gas deliveries to Asian countries and Europe—amid its energy crisis—lifted the US’ position as a LNG exporter. Washington’s export terminals delivered 1,043 cargoes last year, mostly to Asian nations.

However, Bloomberg noted that the US’ position remains at a vulnerable stage given that the difference in rankings between Washington and Doha was not major.

“Qatar and the US will be vying for being the largest LNG producers in the world over the next decade,” said Muqsit Ashraf, senior managing director of Accenture’s global energy practice, told the news agency.
The US’ gas production witnessed an increase approximately 70% since 2010 and it is currently working towards having the world’s largest export capacity by the end of this year following the completion of more LNG export facilities.
Previous forecasts by the US Energy Information Administration predicted that LNG exports will reach 11.5 billion cubic feet per day [bcfd] in 2022.
This number would account to up to 22% of the anticipated demand of 53.3 bcfd, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs, cited by Reuters.
Major US developers such as Cheniere Energy, the largest exporter in the nation, have signed various long-term deals to sell the liquified gas, which is believed to keep Washington ahead of the race of LNG exportation up until at least 2025.
But reports predicted that Qatar might take the lead instead as it is currently moving towards becoming the largest LNG producer by 2030 through its $28.7 billion North Field Expansion project – the biggest such project in the world.

This is set to raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 million metric tonnes per year to 110 million metric tonnes per year by 2025.

In October last year, QatarEnergy [QE] announced that it began building four new LNG mega-trains that will help increase its production capacity.

Then in November, the major Qatari gas company ordered six LNG ships from two South Korean shipyards and were the latest of several planned batches. The ships are expected to meet the needs of future LNG tanker requirements for the North Field expansion project


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