The United States has positioned itself as the top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the first half of 2023, according to data from CEDIGAZ. U.S. LNG exports reached an impressive daily average of 11.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) during this period, indicating a 4% increase from the same time last year and a notable 9.5% surge compared to the entire year of 2022. This surge in U.S. LNG exports is primarily attributed to the restart of Freeport LNG’s operations and the escalating global demand for LNG, particularly in Europe.
In a parallel development, Australia secured the second spot among the world’s LNG exporters, with an average of 10.6 Bcf/d exports during the same timeframe. Following closely, Qatar recorded LNG exports averaging 10.4 Bcf/d. A significant trend is Europe’s continued prominence as the primary destination for U.S. LNG exports, accounting for 67% (7.7 Bcf/d) of the total. This indicates a 14% increase compared to the 2022 annual average, with key European nations such as the Netherlands, the UK, France, Spain, and Germany collectively receiving 77% (6.0 Bcf/d) of the U.S. LNG exports to the continent.
U.S. LNG exports soared to a historic high of 12.4 Bcf/d in April 2023, thanks to the revitalization of Freeport LNG and Europe’s intensified reliance on LNG imports. The latter move aimed to counter reduced pipeline imports from Russia and to replenish storage inventories. The utilization rate of U.S. LNG export facilities stood at an average of 83% during the first half of 2023, reflecting a slight dip from the same period in 2022 and the entirety of 2022, due to the relaunch of Freeport LNG’s exports in February. This phenomenon underscores the U.S.’s pivotal role in meeting global LNG demand and shaping the energy landscape.