Qatar reclaims world’s top LNG exporter crown from US

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Qatar has reclaimed the crown as the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter from the US, as the end of winter lowered demand for the heating fuel in the northern hemisphere.

April exports of the supercooled fuel from Qatar surpassed 7.5 million metric tons, edging out the US, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Maintenance at Qatargas reduced the Middle Eastern nation’s exports a month earlier.

During the winter months, low temperatures, combined with Europe’s desire to cut dependence on Russian energy, drove up the demand for natural gas and the prices of fuel. Once winter ended, some US export terminals used the period of softer demand and lower prices to undergo maintenance, which has lowered the US production.

A shale gas revolution, coupled with billions of dollars of investments in liquefaction facilities, transformed the US from a net LNG importer to a top exporter in less than a decade. 

However, the US and Qatar are expected to engage in a two-horse race for dominance in the global LNG market. Once the Calcasieu Pass export terminal in Louisiana is complete later this year, the US is expected to reach a peak LNG production capacity of 13.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Qatar is currently exporting approximately 77.1 million tons per annum (Mtpa), with the U.S. (44.8 Mtpa) and Australia (77.8 Mtpa) and with the other leading exporters. In 2019, the Middle Eastern nation was also on top of the list with exportation that amounted to 104.8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of LNG.

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