TOKYO Reuters U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas LNG to China, Japan and South Korea, the biggest importers of the fuel, have surged to record highs in recent months as the heavily industrialised region recovers from the COVID19 pandemic, Eikon trade data shows.
As with the rampup of U.S. oil exports that forced heavyweights like Saudi Arabia to find other buyers, what was dubbed Freedom Gas by the administration of President Donald Trump is also changing global energy flows and quietly gaining a stranglehold on key markets in Asia.
Graphic US LNG exports to Asia
Such is the speed of growth of imports into Japan, the U.S. is running neck and neck this year with Qatar a longterm key exporter to Japanese utilities as a major supplier to the worlds thirdlargest economy, official data showed this week. That comes despite U.S. LNG being nearly 40 more expensive than Qatar gas on a per heating unit basis.
Graphic Japan LNG imports from top suppliers
And more gas is on the way. Natural gas flows to export terminals in the U.S. where gas is chilled to 160 C 260 F before shipment overseas totalled 11.8 billion cubic feet 334 million cubic metres on Wednesday, according to one source.
Thats a daily record and up from the daily average of 10.8 billion cubic feet recorded in March.
LNG shipments from the U.S. to Japan, China and South Korea totalled 3.2 million tonnes in February, almost two and a half times the highest monthly levels before the recent surge.