The growth of natural gas production in the US over the past decade has prompted the development of LNG export terminals.
The EIA observes that with the rapid growth of supply from shale gas resources over the past decade, US natural gas production has grown each year since 2006.
The decline in domestic natural gas prices has led to rising natural gas exports, both via pipeline to Mexico and to overseas markets via LNG tankers.
Currently, the US is a net importer of natural gas, and gross imports represented nearly 10% of total supply in 2015, based on data through November. The US imported 7.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, mostly from Canada by pipeline, and exported 4.8 bcf/d, mostly to Mexico by pipeline.
In addition to the Sabine Pass terminal, four other LNG export terminals are currently under construction.
Several LNG import terminals were built in the 1970s, and a new wave of terminals was constructed in the mid- to late-200s. As domestic production increased, LNG imports declines, as many new terminals were barely used and the utilisation rates of older terminals declined.
The four export terminals currently under construction are Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland, Cheniere’s Corpus Christi LNG project, Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG terminal in Louisiana and Freeport LNG in Texas.
These terminals are expected to take advantage of natural gas produced in the Appalachian Basin, particularly the Marcellus and Utica regions – the source of much of the nation’s production growth over the past several years.