U.S. exported more natural gas in 2017 than it imported for the first time in 60 years, according to the Energy Department.
— Energy Department (@ENERGY) March 19, 2018
Natural gas production has boomed in recent years, particularly in Pennsylvania and other parts of Appalachia, thanks to hydraulic fracturing or fracking and horizontal drilling. The boom has offset Canadian imports and allowed U.S. companies to ship more fuel abroad.
The lion’s share of export growth has come from pipelines to Canada and Mexico, according to U.S. Energy Administration data. “[P]ipeline exports to Mexico have grown along with pipeline capacity, more than doubling since 2014 and averaging 4.2 Bcf/d in 2017,” the EIA noted.
Shipments of liquefied natural gas have grown as well, but pipelines have an advantage in terms of the lengthy approval time and cost to be shipping terminals.
“The United States will be a net exporter of natural gas in each month remaining in 2018 and each month of 2019 as pipeline exports to Mexico continue to grow along with LNG export capacity,” the EIA projected.
The U.S. became the world’s largest natural gas producer in 2009, beating out Russia. It’s quickly changed the geopolitical situation in Europe and Asia. President Donald Trump’s administration has incorporated this newfound energy reality into their national security strategy.
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