The United States is now the world’s leading exporter of liquified natural gas as Europe’s energy crisis and shortages in China send demand for American shipments soaring.
LNG exports from the United States topped 7 million tonnes (7.7 million tons) in December, according to ship-tracking data from ICIS LNG Edge, narrowly edging out rival producers Qatar and Australia for the first time.
The United States only shipped its first LNG cargo from the lower 48 states in 2016, and has risen to become the world’s top exporter in just six years as a shale gas revolution boosted domestic production and turned the country into a powerful force in global energy markets.
The United States will be the biggest exporter in the world through 2022 as a whole, according to forecasts from ICIS and the US Energy Information Agency. Demand is expected to remain high in Europe, where there are fears about natural gas supplies from Russia as tensions grow over a military buildup at its border with Ukraine.