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US LNG output appears to be at full capacity as European prices keep surging

Highlights

13 Bcf/d of feedgas demand observed Dec. 21

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US LNG feedgas demand registered Dec. 21 at around 13 Bcf/d – a new record --- as the six major US liquefaction facilities in operation appeared to be running at full capacity and a seventh was undergoing commissioning, S&P Global Platts Analytics data showed.

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Ultra-high delivered prices in end-user markets were incentivizing robust US export activity.

The trends were expected to continue in the near-term, with cold weather across Northwest Europe boosting LNG demand there and even more frigid temperatures in Russia restraining pipeline gas volumes to the continent as Russia keeps more of its supply for domestic use.

Gas deliveries to US LNG export terminals rose about 140 MMcf/d from the previous day, based on nominations for the morning cycle as observed by Platts Analytics. About 58% of the total – 7.56 Bcf/d -- was accounted for by the nine liquefaction trains across Cheniere Energy's two terminals, Sabine Pass Liquefaction in Louisiana and Corpus Christi Liquefaction in Texas.

Small feedgas deliveries to Venture Global LNG's Calcasieu Pass continued to register Dec. 21 as commissioning toward startup was ongoing, Platts Analytics data showed. According to Venture Global, all 18 liquefaction modules have been received at the Louisiana terminal from Italy and set on foundations.

The export value for LNG cargoes loading on the US Gulf Coast 30-60 days forward jumped more than $16/MMBtu to new highs during the week of Dec. 14-21, reflecting the strength of European delivered prices. The Platts-assessed Gulf Coast Marker for February stood at $54.95/MMBtu on Dec.21. That was more than six times higher than on the same day in 2020.

Dozens of LNG tankers were in the Atlantic trying to land in Europe to take advantage of the arbitrage, as delivered prices there were assessed at a widening premium to the Asia spot price.