U.S. LNG export bonanza reshapes energy map in Asia

TOKYO (Reuters) -U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China, Japan and South Korea, the biggest importers of the fuel, have surged to record highs in recent months as the heavily industrialised region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Eikon trade data shows. As with the ramp-up of U.S. oil exports that forced heavyweights like Saudi Arabia to find other buyers, what was dubbed Freedom Gas by the administration of President Donald Trump is also changing global energy flows and quietly gaining a stranglehold on key markets in Asia. Such is the speed of growth of imports into Japan, the U.S. is running neck and neck this year with Qatar – a long-term key exporter to Japanese utilities – as a major supplier to the world’s third-largest economy, official data showed this week. That comes despite U.S. LNG being nearly 40% more expensive than Qatar gas on a per heating unit basis. And more gas is on the way. Natural gas flows to export terminals in the U.S. where gas is chilled to -160 C (-260 F) before shipment overseas totalled 11.8 billion cubic feet (334 million cubic metres) on Wednesday, according to one source. That’s a daily record and… continue reading

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