How US outpaced Qatar and Australia as leading LNG exporter

Just seven years ago, the United States did not feature on the list of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporting nations, relying instead on imports to meet domestic demand.

However, by the close of the past year, the U.S. had outpaced both Qatar and Australia, securing its position as the world’s leading LNG exporter. This remarkable shift is poised for continued expansion in the foreseeable future, reports Al-Anba daily.

In 2023, U.S. LNG exports surged to unprecedented heights, claiming the top spot among global LNG exporting countries.

The majority of these exports originated from the Gulf Coast, where expansive facilities liquefy the gas and transport it via massive ships to destinations worldwide.

Data from LSEG reveals that U.S. LNG exports reached approximately 88.9 million metric tons in 2023, reflecting a noteworthy annual increase of 14.7%. December alone witnessed a new pinnacle, with U.S. LNG exports soaring to a record 8.6 million metric tons.

In the 2023 rankings for LNG exporting nations, Australia secured second place, while Qatar landed in third after experiencing a 1.9% dip in exports compared to the previous year. Qatar had long held the title of the leading LNG exporter until Australia surpassed it in 2021. However, Qatar briefly reclaimed the top spot in 2022, with Australia taking second place before the United States emerged as the leader in the subsequent year.

The U.S. LNG industry reaped benefits in the preceding year, attributed to the full operational status of the Freeport facility and enhanced efficiency in other processing facilities. The Freeport LNG facility alone contributed an additional 6 million tons of production, and the Calcasieu Pass facility saw a year-over-year increase of approximately 3 million metric tons.

Less than a decade ago, the U.S. played a negligible role in LNG exports, but the advent of hydraulic fracturing and substantial investments catalyzed a radical transformation in the sector.

By 2017, the U.S. became the foremost exporter of natural gas, ending a nearly six-decade hiatus, owing to increased domestic production, diminished imports, and expanded capacity of LNG export stations.

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