U.S. Plans LNG Dominance

The United States is ready to flood the world with once unthinkable amounts liquefied natural gas. It should change the geopolitics of global energy and be a major threat to the Russian gas dominance in Europe.

4 LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments should happen before the end of this year. Gas frackers have said that exports from the US could ultimately overtake Russia as the world biggest supplier of natural gas. The mile-deep Marcellus basin stretching from West Virginia through Pennsylvania to New York State is driving the explosive growth. Interlocking fractures in the rock make it possible for a single well with advanced technology to extract much more gas than thought possible just five years ago. The Marcellus alone produces 113 BCM a year. This is roughly equivalent to Russia’s exports to Europe through the Nord Stream, Yamal, and Brotherhood pipelines.

New technology is allowing companies to drill so much faster. US drillers can produce more natural gas today with 280 rigs then they could in 2009 with 1,200 rigs.

Some experts are still split as to whether the US can really become the world’s dominant LNG player. They believe that most of the 30 gas liquefaction projects planned in the US and Canada will never get off the ground. This is mainly because of the link between LNG contracts and the price of crude oil. The international drop in oil prices has wiped out the price advantage to US LNG projects.