U.S. Gas Exports are Surging
Another important outlet for U.S. natural gas production has been exports, both via pipeline and as liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG exports from the U.S. reached 1.7 Bcf/d in 2017, equivalent to about 2.4% of U.S. natural gas production. Mexico received nearly 22% of these exports, while the Asia Pacific region received 41%.
Pipeline exports amounted to 6.3 Bcf/d, or 8.9% of U.S. daily production. Despite trade war rhetoric, Mexico remains the most important destination for U.S. natural gas exports, receiving 64% of the total.
Further, exports to Mexico continue to grow rapidly. Last week RBN Energy reported that in early July, pipeline exports to Mexico breached 5.0 Bcf/d for the first time ever.
Reserves Signal a Warning
The U.S. may continue to lead the world in natural gas production for a few more years, but the level of proved natural gas reserves implies that our lead could be short-lived.
The Middle East’s proved natural gas reserves at the end of 2017 were 2.8 quadrillion cubic feet, nearly ten times U.S. proved reserves of 309 trillion cubic feet. For perspective, U.S. proved reserves are only 4.5% of the global total.
Russia has more proved natural gas reserves than any other country with 1.23 quadrillion cubic feet, followed by Iran with 1.17 quadrillion cubic feet. Total proved natural gas reserves at the end of 2017 were enough to satisfy 2017 global production rates for 52.6 years.