The photo is osurced from fluenta.com
As a result, the United States took over first place from Qatar, which became the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2022. The key reason for the shake-up was the restart of the Freeport LNG plant, which has a capacity of 56 mln m3/day and which has been undergoing required repairs between June 2022 and February 2023. The project operator, Freeport LNG Development, initially expected the repairs to take 90 days. However, they ended up lasting for eight months, setting a new record for the U.S. LNG sector. The prolonged shutdown resulted in the cancellation of 136 LNG shipments, which could not but affect the overall dynamics of U.S. feedstock exports, as Freeport LNG accounted for 20% of the country’s natural gas liquefaction capacities as of the end of last year.
Europe has become a key region for American producers: 67% of U.S. LNG exports in the first half of 2023 went to the EU and the UK, not least thanks to new regasification capacities coming on stream in Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain. The remaining third of LNG went primarily to Asia, including Japan (6%), South Korea (5%), China (3%) and India (3%). The aforementioned Freeport LNG plant accounted for 11% of the supplies, ranking behind Sabine Pass LNG (35%), Corpus Christi LNG (17%), Cameron LNG (15%) and Calcasieu Pass (13%). Major exporters also included Cove Point (6%) and Elba Island (3%).
Despite the United States taking the top spot in LNG exports, the Big Three could see further shake-ups down the line. For instance, Qatar plans to bring into operation six LNG production lines with an overall capacity of 177 mln m3/day by 2027, which will allow the country to ramp up its exports by a little over 60%. The new capacities will use gas from the southern and eastern parts of the South Pars field as feedstock.