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Tokyo-based Electric Power Subsidiary partners with AP Solar in 400 MW Texas Solar Project

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Industry News

EIA Forecasts Continued Increase in U.S. Natural Gas Exports

LCG, August 10, 2017--The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released earlier this week its Short-Term Energy Outlook that forecasts the nation will export more natural gas than it imports in 2017 and throughout 2018. Furthermore, the EIA projects the U.S. will continue to be a net exporter beyond 2018 because of growing U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico, declining pipeline imports from Canada, and increasing exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The U.S. is the world's largest natural gas producer, passing Russia in 2009. According to the EIA, natural gas production in the U.S. has increased from 55 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2008 to 72.5 Bcf/d in 2016, with most consumed domestically.

The EIA expects LNG exports to increase, with five new export projects currently under construction: Cove Point, Cameron, Elba Island, Freeport, and Corpus Christi. These projects are planned to commence operations in the next three years, increasing total U.S. liquefaction capacity from 1.4 Bcf/d at the end of 2016 to 9.5 Bcf/d by the end of 2019.

Three LNG liquefaction trains at Sabine Pass, Louisiana, are currently the only operational liquefaction facilities in the U.S. A fourth train at Sabine Pass is undergoing commissioning and a fifth train is expected to come online in 2019. Another liquefaction project at Cove Point, in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, is scheduled to come online later this year.

Based on construction plans, the EIA expects that by 2020 the United States will have the third-largest LNG export capacity in the world after Australia and Qatar. The EIA?s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasts that U.S. LNG exports will reach 4.6 Bcf/d by December 2018 as new liquefaction trains at Cameron, Freeport, and Elba Island come online. Actual use of U.S. LNG export terminals will be driven by the rate of global LNG demand growth and competition from other global LNG suppliers.

Exports within North America will further influence U.S. natural gas production and markets. The EIA estimates that exports from the U.S. to Mexico will increase dramatically, as U.S. export pipeline capacity has nearly doubled, and Mexico expects to increase its natural gas use for electric power generation by almost 50% between 2016 and 2020. In addition, natural gas produced in Appalachia and the Midwestern states are likely to displace imports from Canada over time and increase U.S. pipeline exports to Canada from both Michigan and New York. New pipeline projects, such as the Rover and Nexus Gas Transmission pipelines, are being developed to transport gas from Marcellus and Utica supply regions to the Southeast, Midwest, and eastern Canada.
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