According to Bloomberg Finance data, liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in December were over three times higher than the reduced export levels in 2020’s summer.
U.S. LNG reached a new milestone in December after a record-breaking November 2020, averaging at 9.8 bcf/d. LNG demand has increased due to colder winter temperatures in key Asian consuming market. The LNG supply reduction led to higher international natural gas and LNG prices in Asia and Europe, attracting higher volumes of flexible supplies from the U.S.
In 2020, from April to July, natural gas and LNG prices in Asia and Europe had declined to all-time historical lows, which affected the economic viability of flexible exports and led to cargo cancelations. Prices recovered in August, and by December, have more than quadrupled compared to the low levels of the summer months.
Since June 2020, over 50% of U.S. LNG exports went to Asia, about 30% to Europe, with remaining volumes heading to the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, based on EIA data U.S. Energy Department for 2020.
EIA forecasts that U.S. LNG exports will average 9.5 Bcf/d in the first quarter of 2021 and 8.5 Bcf/d on an annual basis this year, a 30% increase from 2020.