WASHINGTON (AP/Bloomberg) — The United States and Qatar exported nearly the same amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) last year. The US may even be the world’s largest LNG exporter. The question, however, is how long the country will remain on par with Qatar.
The two countries exported 81.2 million tons of LNG last year, Bloomberg News reported, based on shipping data. By 2022, the US has invested billions, transforming the country from a major LNG importer to a major supplier. The development is surprising given that the US began exporting liquefied natural gas in 2016.
The United States would have been the largest exporter had it not been for a fire at an export factory in Texas. So the factory has been closed since June, but will resume operations in January.
The question, however, is how long the US can continue to compete with LNG powerhouse Qatar. For example, the latter country is in the midst of an enormous expansion of its manufacturing facilities. This will allow Qatar to supply more LNG from 2026 onwards. To keep up, the US needs to further expand its export capacity.
The Netherlands imported more LNG to reduce its dependence on Russia, and to comply with European agreements to fill gas storage facilities. Compared to the same period in 2021, LNG imports almost tripled between July and October last year. CBS previously reported that the United States had more than half of that LNG.