The federal Energy Information Administration is reporting that overall liquefied gas exports last month were “above pre-Covid” levels, and at their highest level since 2016.
The EIA, which analyses energy information trends as part of the Department of Energy, is also forecasting a substantial 31% increase in liquefied gas exports from the U.S. in 2021.
The EIA forecast comes as Dodge Data & Analytics is reporting a 35% jump in construction activity next year for utilities and gas plant projects, led by groundbreakings that are expected on several large liquefied gas export facilities.
The multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas industry has in general been enjoying boom times now for most of the last decade, with the number of new plants growing from just over 120 in 2010 to nearly 160 last year.
Such facilities, notes the Engineering News Record, have become more popular as pipelines have become more difficult to build.
A liquefied natural gas facility, continues the publication, “can be built near a pipeline, and utilities and industries can move the liquefied natural gas to a facility by truck.”
Greatly contributing to the industry’s market is foreign demand: work has now started on a new $1.9 billion liquefied natural gas facility belonging to Sempra Energy on the Pacific Coast of Baja California.
Upon completion, the natural gas from the Sempra operation will be sent by cargo ships to markets in Asia.
Plans are also underway for a new $450 million facility in southern New Jersey, across the Delaware River, which will send liquefied natural gas to ports in Mexico and Europe.
Meanwhile, the Arlington, Virginia-based Venture Global has announced plans to build an $8.5 billion facility Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.
Currently, the largest export markets for liquefied natural gas from the U.S. are South Korea, Japan, and Spain.
In its newest liquefied natural gas export forecast, the Energy Information Administration cautioned that while it expected exports to rise substantially next year, the forecast “remains subject to heightened levels of uncertainty because responses to Covid-19 continue to evolve.”
By Garry Boulard
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