We have written quite a bit in the past about the bright future ahead for exports of U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG). There’s no doubt about it…the LNG export business is booming and it’s constantly breaking new records.
In 2019, the U.S. accounted for over half of all the new global liquefaction capacity added worldwide. The U.S has passed Malaysia to become the world’s third largest LNG supplier, behind Qatar and, the recently crowned king of the hill, Australia. And our LNG exports are increasing at an exponential rate and to the point that we will surpass Australia by 2023.
The U.S. LNG export boom has done much more than just help our economy, however. In many parts of the developing world, having access to low-cost, dependable deliveries can literally mean the difference between life and death. It’s a brutal fact that we currently live in a world where three billion people still lack basic access to affordable and reliable energy. Many are forced to burn household waste just for light and warmth. Indoor air pollution in these areas kills millions of people every year. Having access to LNG for heat and electricity can make all the difference for the world’s poor to help them grow their economies through access to affordable and reliable power.
The boom in U.S. LNG exports has been a good thing for the industrialized world as well. Natural gas has become the go-to fuel in many countries due to its clean burning properties and its flexibility — making it the perfect source of backup generation for intermittent wind and solar power. Germany, as we’ve recently written, is phasing out both coal and nuclear power and is relying on renewables. But this transition has come at cost to the nation’s power grid and now Germany is looking to natural gas to fill the void in power generation.
Without access to U.S. LNG, our allies in Europe would be forced to turn to a global supply chain increasingly dominated by Russia and its Gas Exporting Countries Forum to satisfy their appetites. One estimate found that our LNG exports saved Europe over $8 billion in 2018 alone. It’s no wonder much of Europe is looking to double or even triple their U.S. LNG imports.
Low price LNG is the embodiment of affordable and reliable energy that has helped the world make strides toward reducing CO2 emissions while increasing access to reliable power. If we want these trends to continue, then it’s critical for our elected officials to act to protect the industry and move it forward. It’s not only the U.S. that’s depending on it.