It’s been an incredibly wild year for U.S. LNG exports. In the past year, global gas prices have seen both historic lows and highs, as markets swung from extreme demand destruction from COVID-19 for much of last year, to supply shortages by late 2020 and into early 2021 due to maintenance outages, weather events, Panama Canal delays, and vessel shortages. The U.S. natural gas market has also dealt with its share of anomalies, from a historic hurricane season in 2020 to the extreme cold weather event last month that briefly triggered a severe gas shortage in the U.S. Midcontinent and Texas and left millions of people without power for more than a week. Given these events, U.S. LNG feedgas demand and export trends have run the gamut, from experiencing massive cargo cancellations and low utilization rates to recording new highs. Throughout this incredibly tumultuous year, U.S. LNG operators have had to adjust, managing the good times and bad and proving operational flexibility in ways that will serve them for years to come. Here at RBN we track and report on all things LNG in our LNG Voyager report, and we’ve been hard at work enhancing and expanding our coverage to capture the rapidly evolving global and domestic factors affecting the U.S. LNG export market, including terminal operations, marginal costs and export economics, and international supply-demand fundamentals. S. LNG has changed in the past year and trends to watch this spring. Warning! Today’s blog is a blatant advertorial for our revamped LNG Voyager Report.
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To totally grasp just how much this new U.S. LNG export field has changed in past times 12 months, we must go back regarding the 12 months to help you , through to the pandemic outcomes had invest. It may be hard to thought people pre-COVID days now, very allow us to set the stage. Brand new You.S. got simply accomplished including 25 MMtpa (step 3.34 Bcf/d) away from liquefaction and you can export strength over the course of 2019 and you will early 2020. Feedgas shipments and LNG exports during this period were foreseeable getting probably the most area, ramping upwards because liquefaction teaches was done following consistently working close complete utilization of ability because units have been put on the internet and industrial deals knocked within the. Therefore, for the February off a year ago, feedgas request are close exactly what was indeed after that number highs, with little sign of volatility away from regimen maintenance situations. It seemed like every LNG you may carry out is actually expand – that has been a narrative LNG builders was willing to promote.
Today, we high light exactly how U
Then COVID-19 hit, decimating global demand, sending global gas prices to all-time lows and turning the economics for exporting U.S. LNG upside down for the first time since early 2016 when the first train at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal began exporting. We discussed the unraveling of the U.S. LNG export market that followed in a number of blogs last spring and summer, including Split It in my experience Gently, Undone and LNG Disruption. The upshot is that offtakers of U.S. LNG began cancelling cargoes and, by summer, feedgas demand plummeted (dashed blue oval in Figure 1). Feedgas deliveries in July and August averaged just 3.66 Bcf/d, or about 40% of where they were in the first quarter of 2020 and just 42% of capacity at the time. Cancellations lessened by late summer as pandemic lockdowns eased, first in Asia and later Europe, and global prices improved. But just as U.S. LNG exports were poised to begin a recovery, a record-setting hurricane season wreaked havoc on the operations of Gulf Coast LNG terminals, particularly in Louisiana (see Your Twist Me personally Round). Throughout the fall, nearly every U.S. LNG terminal faced some kind of outage, port closure, or shut-in for maintenance.