(Wall Street Journal) The U.S. energy trade has been in the news often recently, with questions such as whether industry will be allowed to send oil overseas or import it via a certain pipeline from Canada.
Seemingly forgotten is the historic milestone that will occur early next year when a tanker for the first time ever sets sail from the U.S. lower 48 to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the global market. Supporters will tout the economic benefits, while opponents will revisit concerns about environmental and manufacturing impacts. Lost in this rhetorical battle is the view from overseas, and the significant geopolitical impacts that U.S. LNG will have.
Exporting U.S. LNG represents a stunning turnaround from the energy outlook just a decade ago. In 2005, it was projected that in 2015 the U.S. would be importing 25% of our daily gas use—a volume nearly twice what Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter, puts on the market today. Instead, we will now be a net gas exporter by 2017.
By 2020, the volume of global LNG trade will rise almost 50%, with the U.S. and Australia responsible for nearly all of the increase.
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