The U.S. became the world’s top natural gas producer as a result of the shale gas boom. In 2005, the U.S. was well behind Russian in second place for overall natural gas production. But between 2005 and 2018, U.S. natural gas production rose by 70% as the U.S. surged into the lead. Last year, the U.S. extended its lead as it added another 11.5% to total natural gas production. Russia increased its natural gas production last year by 5.3%.
In 2018, the U.S. produced 21.5% of the world’s natural gas, with Russia coming in second at 17.3%. The U.S. produced more natural gas last year than the entire Middle East, which accounted for 17.8% of the world’s natural gas production in 2018.
Russia continues to dominate the global natural gas trade, accounting for 26% of global natural gas exports. But U.S. natural gas exports continue to grow rapidly. U.S. pipeline exports grew for the fourth straight year, with Mexico receiving 68% of the total, and Canada the remaining 32%.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the U.S. increased by 65% from 2017 to 2018. The U.S. exported LNG to about two dozen countries in 2018. Asia-Pacific has been the fastest growth market for U.S. LNG exports, receiving 53% of all U.S. LNG exports in 2018.
The only sector that has grown faster than natural gas is renewables. I will cover that sector in the next article.