An error occured. Details Hide
You have unsaved pages. Restore Cancel

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) represents a significant component of the energy consumption of many countries and accounts for about one third of total internationally traded gas. Total global LNG production (liquefaction) nameplate capacity grew to 320 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), or 435 billion cubic meters, by the end of 2015 from 119 MTPA in 2000.

The US shale production boom and recovery of global oil prices from 2010 to 2012 after the global financial crisis created an attractive environment for new LNG projects. An enormous 798 MTPA of new production capacity has been proposed globally in new liquefaction facilities (mostly in the US, Canada and Australia). Of that amount, 117 MTPA of capacity are currently under active construction. If implemented, these projects could not only make the US and Canada the largest LNG capacity holders and exporters globally, but also could create thousands of American jobs, lower the US trade deficit, and strengthen the geopolitical position of the US. In the most optimistic scenario, the US could become the world's largest LNG exporter by 2020, with about 200 MTPA of LNG export capacity installed. However, the recent collapse in global oil prices has made crude oil competitive again to natural gas in terms of energy equivalence and put many of proposed LNG projects at risk.

As the IEA says: "Due to its capital-intensive nature, LNG industry faces an uphill battle. Those projects currently under construction today are set to come on stream broadly as planned, as large upfront capital costs have already been incurred. Beyond that, however, new LNG plants will struggle to get off the ground. Today LNG prices simply do not cover the capital costs of new plants. Several projects have already been scrapped or postponed, and the number of casualties will rise if prices do not recover. Final investment decisions (FID) taken in the next 24 months will determine the amount of incremental LNG supplies available in the early part of the next decade. If current low prices persist, LNG markets could start to tighten up substantially by 2020."

Realistic estimates based on projects that are currently under construction bring down the US LNG export capacity prospects to about 43 MTPA by the end of 2020. That number assumes the shutdown of the 46-year old Kenai LNG plant in Alaska and the successful commissioning of 10 LNG Trains: Sabine Pass LNG (4 trains) and Cameron LNG (3 trains) in Louisiana, 2 trains in Freeport LNG Texas, and the Cove Point expansion project at Chesapeake Bay, Maryland (see the interactive map).

Sources: BP Statistical Review of World Energy - 2015 Main IndicatorsBP Statistical Review of World Energy - 2015 Bilateral trade; World Bank Commodity Price Data (Pink Sheet)World liquefied natural gas (LNG) landed prices (U. S. FERC)U.S. Natural Gas, November 2015UK Natural Gas Futures PricesIGU World LNG Report, 2015. Global LNG Liquefaction Plants And Receiving Terminals

Production and Trade      Liquefaction & Regasification Capacity      Natural Gas and LNG Prices

Download our latest ENERGY Data Brief

Download our one-page PDF full of live links to energy-related data, statistics, and dashboards from leading industry sources to support research and data-based decision making.

Related Data Insights

Chinese Tariffs on US LNG Exports Reshuffling Market Outlook

The US shale production boom and recovery of global oil prices following the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 created an attractive environment for new LNG projects. But continued investment and the trade routes that emerge from contracts between producers and consumers are subject to change, as we are witnessing now in the context of the increasingly acrimonious trade dynamic between the United States and China.   In August, China floated a 25 percent tariff on LNG imports from the United States in response to the mounting use of tariffs by the US Government against Chinese goods, a measure more politically...

United States: The World's Newest Major Exporter of Crude Oil

In June, US crude oil exports reached historic levels at nearly 2.2 million barrels per day (b/d), a level similar to that of Nigeria and Iran. From 1975 until late 2015, a federal ban on the export of US crude oil severely restricted crude oil exports to all countries except Canada. By lifting the ban, the US Government has transformed the United States into a major exporter of crude oil and a force that is reshaping global oil markets. To date in 2018, the United States has averaged more than 1.7 million b/d of crude oil exports while continuing to import an average of 7.9 million b/d.Although Canada remains an...

Australia: Oil Stock Levels Pose a Systemic Economic Risk

Australia is running a continuous and growing deficit in total oil stocks, defying the International Energy Agency's (IEA) mandate on members to maintain 90-days of coverage and perpetuating the country’s vulnerability to swings in global oil markets. Whether global supply imbalances arise from geopolitical discord, OPEC-sanctioned supply adjustments, or other market balance factors, the fact that Australia maintains no strategic reserve and has less than a 50 day supply of oil bodes poorly for the potential cost to the economy in the event of a price spike and potential resulting shortages.Australia is the only...

OPEC Crude Oil Prices

Oil producers market more than 160 unique crude oils today, each varying from light to heavy, with different sulfur levels and other chemical attributes that affect price and market. Only a few individual crudes—particularly Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI)—serve as industry benchmarks. The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) is another common benchmark.The ORB represents a weighted average of prices for the petroleum blends produced by the 14 member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The members are: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya,...