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More than 200 Bcf of US gas has reached South Korea, DOE data shows

More than 200 Bcf of American shale gas has made it to South Korea in the form of chilled LNG, according to U.S. government data.

The Asian country has been steadily ramping up imports of LNG produced at Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass export terminal since the start of a 20-year contract in June 2017. From Cheniere's first export in February 2016 through March 2018, South Korea was home to 17.8% of U.S. LNG, making it the second-biggest destination after Mexico, U.S. Department of Energy figures show.

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Energy experts largely expect South Korea and China, the third-largest home for U.S. LNG, to surpass Mexico, which is expanding its domestic pipeline network to be able to receive and distribute more piped gas from the U.S.

Mexico remained the top destination for Sabine Pass LNG in March, taking nearly 29 Bcf of gas from the Louisiana export facility. South Korea received 11.1 Bcf of U.S. gas in the form of LNG, and China imported 10.7 Bcf over the month. India and Chile also took significant volumes of U.S. LNG in March, receiving 10.3 Bcf and 7.0 Bcf of gas, respectively. Other destinations over the month included Brazil, Jordan, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the U.K. and Pakistan.

Sabine Pass was the first major operational LNG export terminal in the Lower 48. Dominion Energy Inc. in April officially brought online its Cove Point LNG export project in Maryland, bringing total U.S. LNG export capacity to roughly 3.6 Bcf/d.