U.S. LNG Export Capacity Update – Mar ’22
U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity has continued to grow through the end of 2021. Important points to consider include:
- U.S. LNG export capacity has reached record high annual levels over six consecutive years through 2021, a result of increased shale gas production. LNG export capacity is expected to continue to grow through years to come based on projects currently under construction and proposed.
- U.S. LNG export capacity utilization remains high, despite the recently experienced increases in capacity rates. LNG export capacity utilization rates have averaged 101.5% throughout the 2021 calendar year.
- U.S. LNG export volumes accounted for a record high 10.5% of total U.S. natural gas withdrawals throughout 2021. 2021 annual LNG export volumes exceeded natural gas pipeline export volumes for the first time on record.
LNG Export Capacity
U.S. LNG export capacity has grown significantly over recent years, driven higher by shale gas production. LNG export capacity has reached record high annual levels over six consecutive years through 2021, with total nameplate capacity reaching 10.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by the end of the 2021 calendar year. An additional 2.7 Bcf/d in export capacity currently under construction is expected to be completed between 2022-2025, while there is currently additional proposed export capacity in excess of 27.1 Bcf/d that is approved but does not have a final investment decision made on it.
LNG Export Capacity Utilization
U.S. LNG export capacity utilization averaged north of 95% throughout 2018, 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. COVID-19 related disruptions to utilization rates were experienced throughout the second and third quarters of 2020 however export rates rebounded to near capacity by the end of 2020. LNG export capacity utilization rates fully rebounded throughout 2021, averaging a rate of 101.5%.
LNG Exports as a % of Withdrawals
U.S. LNG export volumes as a percentage of U.S. natural gas withdrawals has reached record high levels over six consecutive years through 2021. U.S. LNG export volumes exceeded U.S. natural gas pipeline export volumes for the first time on record throughout 2021, accounting for 10.5% of total U.S. natural gas withdrawals.