Louisiana's LNG Export Terminals Boost US Exports to Europe by 123% in 2022
In 2022, the United States saw a significant increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports compared to the previous year. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's latest monthly LNG report covering the entire year, the nation's seven export terminals delivered more than 3.86 trillion cubic feet of LNG, compared to nearly 3.56 trillion cubic feet in 2021. This increase in exports can be attributed to the surge in demand for natural gas in Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine early in the year, which caused Russia to curtail its natural gas deliveries to the continent.
Leading the way were Louisiana's three LNG terminals, which exported more than 2.45 trillion cubic feet of LNG in 2022. Sabine Pass LNG, located in Cameron Parish and owned and operated by Cheniere Energy, was the top performer, exporting 1.48 trillion cubic feet of LNG. This was nearly double the 753 billion cubic feet exported by Corpus Christi Liquefaction, the second-place finisher, also owned and operated by Cheniere Energy. Sabine Pass LNG's exports increased by about 234 billion cubic feet from 1.24 trillion in 2021. In third place was Cameron LNG, owned and operated by Sempra Infrastructure, which exported 660 billion cubic feet of LNG last year. The Calcasieu Pass facility, owned by Venture Global LNG, finished fourth in its first year of operation with 317.8 billion cubic feet of exports.
Louisiana's Gulf of Mexico coast has emerged as a national hub for LNG exports, with several more terminals planned in the region, including Venture Global LNG's Plaquemines LNG terminal in Plaquemines Parish. The increase in demand for U.S. LNG has been growing for several years, with a 123% increase in total cargos to Europe from about 380 in 2021 to almost 850 in 2022, according to Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for LNG, an industry lobbying group in Washington.
While European demand for U.S. LNG is expected to remain strong in 2023, the path of future LNG shipments may be influenced by fluctuating demand in Asia, which was previously the top destination for U.S. exports. A mild winter and significant COVID-19 lockdowns caused demand in Asia to slip last year, according to Riedl. However, lower domestic prices in the U.S. should continue to fuel international demand for LNG, according to Riedl. The U.S. will not see any additional LNG export capacity come online until 2024, highlighting the importance of the international market signing long-term agreements with LNG suppliers in the U.S.