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Editorial Comment

A. Blume, Editor

On the changing landscape of global natural gas trade, the US has magnified its export power by remaining a net exporter for 13 months as of February 2019. Alongside increasing shipments of LNG from its startup export terminals in Texas, Louisiana and Maryland, the country continues to send even larger volumes of gas to both Canada and Mexico by pipeline.

The US exported 4.6 Bft3d of natural gas in February, with a record 3.3 Bft3d going to Canada. Deliveries to Canada have expanded since last November, when the second phase of the Rover pipeline and the NEXUS pipeline commenced operations. The two pipelines send gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to the Dawn Hub in Ontario. Average gas exports to Canada in 2018 were 2.3 Bft3d.

While gas exports to Canada largely fill winter heating needs, US gas meets more than half of Mexico’s power generation demand. Last year, US gas deliveries to Mexico averaged 5.2 Bft3d, up from 4.2 Bft3d in 2017, due largely to increased exports through new and expanded pipelines from the Permian basin. Several new gas-fired power plants have recently started up in Mexico, increasing demand.  

Meanwhile, US LNG exports averaged 3 Bft3d in 2018, with steady increases to a high of 4.1 Bft3d in January 2019, as three new liquefaction trains came online. The three trains, with a combined capacity of 1.9 Bft3d, brought US nameplate LNG export capacity to 4.3 Bft3d at the end of last year. By the end of 2019, an additional 4 Bft3d of new capacity is expected to start up, further expanding US gas exports. GP

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