Panama Expansion Puts East Asia In Reach Of Nascent US LNG Exports

Expansion of the Panama Canal, enabling it to take regular-sized LNG tankers for the first time, comes just as US LNG exports are set to ramp up. Gulf producers Qatar, Oman and Abu Dhabi are in for a rough ride in their core Asian market.

The US (excluding Alaska) exported its first ever LNG cargo in February with the start-up of shipments from the first two 4.5mn tons/year trains at the Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana. And volumes from the US Gulf will soon become a flood, with over 14mn t/y more capacity (equivalent to 19bcm/year or 1.8bn cfd of gas) set to start up in 2017 to be followed by a whopping 40mn t/y in 2018 and 2019.

Excluding a small plant in Alaska which is slated to be decommissioned, the US will go from zero at the start of 2016 to 63.5mn t/y (80.6bcm) – over 80% of the capacity of current world number one Qatar – by the end of 2019 (see table).


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