The Shale oil producers in the United States have turned the country from the label of “a net importer into a net exporter of natural gas” in November 2016; according to S&P Global Platts. However, annually, even in the year 2016 the U.S. natural gas exports have not ever overtaken imports, and it has been like this for the past 60 years. But becoming a net exporter at least in a particular month is a sign of country’s rise in natural gas production and export business. In the month of September 2016, also for a few days, it had achieved this.
Actually, as per the U.S. Energy Information Administration the country has surpassed Russia as the largest producer of natural gas in the year 2011 only. Presently @80 billion cubic feet/day, the U.S. produces almost 25% of the world’s total gas. With the amount of exploration going on the EIA projects the U.S. gas production to rise to 84 Bcf/day by 2020 and skyrocket to 104 Bcf/day by 2030.
This fundamental shift in the U.S. gas industry’s equation for the natural gas import-export ratio is principally due to the growth from the discoveries of massive reservoirs of natural gas contained in shale. And is made possible only by the technique of hydraulic fracturing, combined with horizontal drilling technology. If these technological advancements and discoveries had not come in effect, today the U.S. would have instead found itself in a rapidly growing race to import LNG from countries like Qatar and Australia. The U.S. would have had same dependency status for natural gas.
The United States is expected to play a dominant role in coming years in the LNG export business, with its’ five terminals operating on the Gulf Coast and in Maryland by 2020. The Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana is the first LNG export plant in the lower 48 states and has shipped to 11 different countries in the first six months in operation itself. The rapid growth of this terminal assisted due to the opening of Panama Canal is all set to help the U.S. Natural gas export. U.S. LNG has already been shipped to the far countries of Middle East, Europe, South America, Asia, it should also be noted here, the U.S. is also one of the largest consumer of natural gas in the world, followed by the European Union and Russia.