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LNG plants, gas prices reinvigorate Haynesville Shale

The Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export terminal and rising export facilities along the Gulf Coast are helping breathe new life into the Haynesville Shale of northwestern Louisiana and East Texas, according to a report.

Natural gas production from the Haynesville is on track this year to top its previous peak in late 2011, Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy found. In addition to the new LNG terminals, higher gas prices have supported production.

"We conclude that Haynesville Shale's revival, for the second year in a row, looks sustainable," Rystad Energy partner Artem Abramov said in the report. "Supported by its proximity to a new LNG export terminal, gas production will continue to grow, and achieving new all-time high gas production levels should happen within a matter of months."

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The shale basin has benefited from Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, which in February 2016 became the first major facility to export LNG from the Lower 48. Sabine Pass has since expended, with four liquefaction trains in commercial service and a fifth train being commissioned. Cheniere is also working to commercialize a sixth train. Each train has a capacity of 4.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG, or about 0.7 Bcf/d.

The Haynesville was once lauded as one the world's most prospective shale gas reservoirs but saw growth prospects derailed by low gas prices from 2009 to 2011. After peaking in late 2011, gas production in Louisiana declined for years, losing nearly 4 Bcf/d by the fourth quarter of 2016, Rystad Energy reported.

"Haynesville Shale is truly a different play today than it was in the first growth phase," Abramov said, pointing to better well productivity and low development costs for completions by major oilfield services companies.

Rystad Energy found the Haynesville added 1.85 Bcf/d of gross gas production between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the fourth quarter of 2017. Then another 1.3 Bcf/d was added in 2018, the firm said. Another 700 MMcf/d would bring the level to all-time highs.

LNG exports increased substantially in 2018 and are poised to climb further. Rystad Energy forecast U.S. LNG production to top 40 mtpa in 2019, with liquefaction capacity set to double as new terminals come online, including Freeport LNG Development LP in Texas, Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG in Louisiana, and Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Elba Island in Georgia, along with Cheniere's fifth train at Sabine Pass and its new terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas.

By 2022, Rystad Energy forecast LNG production will reach about 65 mtpa, and it will hit 150 mtpa by 2030.

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