The international natural gas market continues to change, and the United States may soon be the world’s largest exporter the United States of natural gas, according to recent report of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Poised to surpass Australia and Qatar as the leading natural gas exporter, the United States is already the world’s largest natural gas producer. The IEA report estimates that the United States will produce 890 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2022, which is more than one-fifth of the world’s natural gas output.
United States domestic demand for natural gas continues to grow with increasing use within the industrial sector. However, more than half of the expected production increases are for liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. The international industrial sector is driving demand for LNG consumption, with China accounting for 40 percent of estimated growth, according to the IEA report. However, with the low price and ready availability of LNG, other countries such as Jordan, Pakistan and Thailand may expand their use of natural gas, too.
“The US shale revolution shows no sign of running out of steam and its effects are now amplified by a second revolution of rising LNG supplies,” says Dr. Fatih Birol, IEA executive director. “Also, the rising number of LNG consuming countries, from 15 in 2005 to 39 this year, shows that LNG attracts many new customers, especially in the emerging world.”
As the United States increases exports and changes the international gas market, competition has created more flexibility in worldwide LNG marketplace. The European market may even see changes because of the competition between LNG imports and domestic production.
In addition, gas security also remains a critical issue, according to the IEA report, which identified the recent standoff involving Qatar as an example of how the market can be affected by such security issues.
“The changes in the international natural gas market may have some repercussions for those at home,” says Javier Barrios, Managing Partner of Good Energy, an energy company, which provides consulting services to communities in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and several other states. “Good Energy expert consultants are highly attuned to the energy market and can provide the best advice for making smart energy decisions during such changes to the marketplace.”