It’s been an incredibly wild year for U.S. LNG exports. In the past year, global gas prices have seen both historic lows and highs, as markets swung from extreme demand destruction from COVID-19 for much of last year, to supply shortages by late 2020 and into early 2021 due to maintenance outages, weather events, Panama Canal delays, and vessel shortages. The U.S. natural gas market has also dealt with its share of anomalies, from a historic hurricane season in 2020 to the extreme cold weather event last month that briefly triggered a severe gas shortage in the U.S. Midcontinent and Texas and left millions of people without power for more than a week. Given these events, U.S. LNG feedgas demand and export trends have run the gamut, from experiencing massive cargo cancellations and low utilization rates to recording new highs. Throughout this incredibly tumultuous year, U.S. LNG operators have had to adjust, managing the good times and bad and proving operational flexibility in ways that will serve them for years to come. Here at RBN we track and report on all things LNG in our LNG Voyager report, and we’ve been hard at work enhancing and expanding our coverage to capture the rapidly evolving global and domestic factors affecting the U.S. LNG export market, including terminal operations, marginal costs and export economics, and international supply-demand fundamentals. S. LNG has changed in the past year and trends to watch this spring. Warning! Today’s blog is a blatant advertorial for our revamped LNG Voyager secret benefits Declaration.
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To completely grasp how much the fresh You.S. LNG export markets has changed in past times year, we should instead go back in the 12 months in order to , up until the pandemic effects had invest. It can be hard to consider those pre-COVID months today, therefore allow us to put the brand new stage. The fresh U.S. had only finished including twenty five MMtpa (3.34 Bcf/d) out of liquefaction and you will export ability over the course of 2019 and you may very early 2020. Feedgas deliveries and you will LNG exports during this time period was foreseeable having by far the most area, ramping upwards due to the fact liquefaction trains was indeed accomplished right after which continuously working close full using potential just like the gadgets was indeed delivered on the internet and commercial deals knocked in the. So, in the February out-of a year ago, feedgas consult is actually close what was basically then checklist highs, with little to no indication of volatility beyond program repairs incidents. They seemed like all of the LNG you certainly will do was expand – which was a narrative LNG designers have been ready to bring.
Today, we highlight just how U
Then COVID-19 hit, decimating global demand, sending global gas prices to all-time lows and turning the economics for exporting U.S. LNG upside down for the first time since early 2016 when the first train at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal began exporting. We discussed the unraveling of the U.S. LNG export market that followed in a number of blogs last spring and summer, including Crack They to me Gently, Undone and LNG Disturbance. The upshot is that offtakers of U.S. LNG began cancelling cargoes and, by summer, feedgas demand plummeted (dashed blue oval in Figure 1). Feedgas deliveries in July and August averaged just 3.66 Bcf/d, or about 40% of where they were in the first quarter of 2020 and just 42% of capacity at the time. Cancellations lessened by late summer as pandemic lockdowns eased, first in Asia and later Europe, and global prices improved. But just as U.S. LNG exports were poised to begin a recovery, a record-setting hurricane season wreaked havoc on the operations of Gulf Coast LNG terminals, particularly in Louisiana (see You Twist Me personally Bullet). Throughout the fall, nearly every U.S. LNG terminal faced some kind of outage, port closure, or shut-in for maintenance.