As U.S. natural gas imports from Canada slow, pipeline shipments to Mexico climb and LNG exports overseas continue to ramp up, allowing the U.S. to export more gas than it imported in three of the first five months of 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
For nearly 60 years, the U.S. has been a net gas importer, pulling in fuel via pipeline from Canada and small amounts of LNG through an import terminal in Everett, Mass. But in February, April and May, exports of U.S. gas to Mexico by pipeline and as LNG from Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana more than offset the volume of imports.
Thanks to increased shale production in the U.S., imports from Canada have fallen off since their peak in 2007, when the U.S. received an average of more than 10 Bcf/d from its northern neighbor. Pipeline companies have reversed flows on border-crossing facilities, allowing the U.S. to deliver gas to the international boundary in both the Midwest and Northeast.
Pipeline exports to Mexico have surged, reaching near-record levels in the first five months of 2017. These exports averaged roughly 4 Bcf/d in the first part of the year, up from just 0.9 Bcf/d in 2010.
The U.S. also delivers gas to Mexico as LNG from Sabine Pass. Total U.S. LNG exports to all destinations hit a record 1.96 Bcf/d in May, and a fourth liquefaction train is expected to cause another spike in shipments. The U.S. still imports a small amount of LNG through the Everett facility, though these volumes averaged just 0.2 Bcf/d over the first five months of the year.