The American energy industry continues to play a critical role not only in the US economy and domestic policy, but also internationally. Recently released data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports US natural gas exports in the first half of 2018 were more than double the 2017 average. From January through June, the US exported an average of .87 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per day.
The significant increase in LNG exports can largely be attributed to the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, an $18 billion project from Cheniere Energy located in our backyard here in Louisiana. The facility became operational in 2016, allowing the U.S. to become a net exporter of natural gas in 2017 for the first time in nearly 60 years. And with four more LNG projects expected to be completed within the next year, including another major terminal in Louisiana developed by Sempra LNG, the EIA estimates the total US LNG export capacity to reach 9.6 billion cubic feet of LNG per day by the end of 2019. Forbes reported that the US will make up about 25% of the current global market, contending:
We are the emerging LNG supplier, as the U.S. demand markets of electricity, industry, and niche uses like transport will not satisfy our production surge. A domestic surplus of gas makes exports the natural next step, and buyers increasingly covet the shorter and more flexible contracts that we offer. We are inserting liquidity to a longtime overly rigid system that limited new entrants.
The Sabine Pass LNG terminal is a tangible example of the Louisiana oil and gas industry making significant contributions to the US economy. As Louisiana’s export capabilities continue to expand, so too will opportunities for our state’s oil and gas workers. A 2014 study by Dr. Loren Scott concluded that expansion of Sabine Pass would support an average of 6,391 jobs a year in Louisiana and contribute $233.7 million in taxes and fees to state coffers over an eight-year period.
The industry is a cornerstone of Louisiana’s economy, supporting more than 260,000 jobs throughout the state. The industry is so important, in fact, that a recent survey of voters in Plaquemines Parish conducted by the Louisiana Free Enterprise Institute found 99 percent of respondents believe the energy industry plays a vital role in the local economy, and 84 percent believe the industry is important to their own family’s quality of life. Louisianians for Energy is proud to promote investment in energy development here in Louisiana and looks forward to the continued contributions the industry will bring to both the state and US economy.