The U.S. Department of Energy announced it has approved Freeport LNG to export up to 2.14 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas as liquefied natural gas (LNG) over two years. The company will export the LNG from the Freeport LNG Liquefaction Project, which is under construction on Quintana Island, Texas. The two-year export period will begin when the facility starts operating in the third quarter of 2019.
Since the United States started exporting LNG in 2016, more than 1.3 trillion cubic feet of U.S. natural gas has been exported. The LNG has reached 30 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean. Natural gas exports are expected to rise 15% to an average of 9.9 billion cubic feet per day in 2018, from 2017 levels, according to the EIA. In 2019, natural gas exports are expected to rise 38% to 13.7 billion cubic feet.
The Department of Energy has approved 21.35 billion cubic feet per day of long-term exports of natural gas. The United States has two large-scale export projects in operation: Sabine Pass and Dominion Cove Point. They have a combined export capacity of about 3.5 billion cubic feet per day. Freeport is one of four large-scale export projects that should be completed over the next two years, and once they are completed, the United States will have an export capacity of about 11 billion cubic feet per day. More than a dozen export projects are under review, and if approved, would add more than 20 billion cubic feet per day to U.S. export capacity.