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Fracking Futures
America Eases into Role as LNG Exporter

Just a decade ago the United States was busy constructing liquified natural gas (LNG) import facilities along our Gulf coast, and now the country is looking at how we might remake ourselves into a natural gas exporter. There are few better examples of the transformative power of the shale revolution than this about-face on our natural gas trade balance, and as the EIA reports, momentum is building for our quest to sell our LNG abroad:

The Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana became the first operating LNG export facility in the Lower 48 states in 2016. By 2021, four LNG export facilities currently under construction are expected to be completed. Combined, these five plants are expected to have an operational export capacity of 9.2 billion cubic feet per day. After 2021, projected U.S. exports of LNG grow at a more modest rate as U.S. natural gas faces growing competition from other global LNG suppliers.

The U.S. imported more gas than we exported last year, and that’s to be expected. After all, it’s barely been 13 months since exports started departing our first operational export terminal in Louisiana. But we should note than in all but the rosiest projections, America will continue to be a net importer of natural gas over the next twenty-plus years.

That said, our hydrocarbon balance sheet is looking a lot better, thanks to fracking. Those net imports are declining year over year and will continue to do so as more LNG export facilities come online. An increase in natural gas exports doesn’t just shore up our energy security, it also gives domestic natural gas producers—those companies employing horizontal well drilling and hydraulic fracturing to pull gas out of shale rock formations—another outlet to sell that flood of new supplies.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    Doesn’t it sound surprising that America might still be a net importer of natural gas for 20+ years from here?

    • Psalms564

      I personally think it will be due to not imposing confiscatory levels of taxation above a certain random level determined by Comrade FriendlyGoat. Prove to me that’s not the cause.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Put your kids on the line here, please, so Dad will fall under the obligation to try to make sense.

        • Psalms564

          Oh, I was just making fun of you. Don’t worry, I make fun of them as well. They certainly return the favor.

        • leoj

          Wait till they start feelin the Bern just to get under the old man’s skin. You may have your vindication yet, FriendlyG.

          • Psalms564

            If they do that, that means I have failed as a parent and I deserve whatever is coming to me. I really DO believe in personal responsibility.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Psalms564 (aka JR) has made a point in the past of telling me how he teaches his kids against my alleged socialism. The chances of him actually opening the entire contents of his Disqus writings at me to his kids, however, is zero. I’ve always wished he would, though, so we could have our debates through the “Is-this-sensible-enough-to-say-to-a-kid?” filter.

          • Psalms564

            While your intelligence level is the same as that of an 8 year old I doubt you are that age. So your will you tell this to a kid point is irrelevant. You are not a kid.
            Also, I teach my kids against the evils of socialism and collectivism. How I wish you were the only one practicing these evil ideologies, but alas, you aren’t.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m actually 65 and deserve the same quality of courteous logic from you here as you would give to your own kids (of any age) and to your neighbors’ kids (of any age)—–or, as I have heard—-in your role as a judge of other kids’ debates. You can’t really—–really—-explain anything to me that you cannot explain to them in the same tone, and vice versa. It’s a pity that kids’ presence is required to get some adults to talk straight instead of smack——but, you know what? It is.

          • Psalms564

            Oh god…. People have tried logic with you. Hell, I’ve tried logic with you on numerous occasions. The problem is that you are a Statist and therefore your one and only ultimate is to grow an all powerful State. You’re immune to logic, which is why most people just ignore you. I refuse to look the other way. Evil must be confronted.
            Plus making fun of old commies is fun.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Your “Oh, God” routine is too cute by half. Been there, heard that. What you could have sold by example didn’t sell—–by example.

    • CaliforniaStark

      The answer to you question is yes. The overwhelming majority of natural gas “imported” to the U.S. is from Alberta and western Canada. There are not major export port facilities in Canada, although there are plans to build one in British Columbia (it has significant opposition). There is also natural gas coming into the U.S. from Norway, Trinidad and other countries. The U.S. is increasing exports to Mexico, and because of the Panama Canal expansion is exporting more to Asia. I will disagree with the article, believe the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas within the decade. However, the demand for natural gas in the U.S. is growing rapidly, so I may prove wrong.

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