The US will lead the world in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in 2023

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The U.S. led the world in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in 2023, hitting monthly and annual records in December, according to tanker tracking data.

Analysts said the records set in December would see the US overtake Qatar and Australia as the biggest LNG exporter in 2023. According to the US government, Qatar was the largest LNG exporter in 2022, followed by Australia.

Alex Munton, director of global gas and LNG research at consultancy Rapidan Energy Group, told Portal that the U.S. accounted for most of global LNG production growth in 2023, with about 8.6 million tons in December ( MT) were shipped from US terminals alone.

“Record U.S. production was driven by two factors: Freeport LNG's return to full operations, which added 6 tons, and full-year production from Venture Global LNG's Calcasieu Pass facility, which added 3 tons more than in 2022,” Munton said .

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The U.S. led the world in LNG exports in 2023, after overtaking Qatar and Australia, according to tanker tracking and government data. (Lindsey Janies/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Full-year U.S. exports rose 14.7% to 88.9 million tonnes (MT), largely due to the Freeport LNG plant returning to full production following a fire in 2022 and undergoing repairs as well as greater processing efficiency in other facilities, LSEG data showed.

For comparison, 2022 data from the Financial Information Provider showed that the United States exported 77.5 million tons of LNG in 2022.

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Europe remained the largest export destination for U.S. LNG exports in December. (FOCKE STRANGMANN/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Europe remained the top destination for U.S. LNG in December with 5.43 tons, or just over 61%, after LSEG data showed Europe received 68% of U.S. LNG exports in November. The month-on-month decline reflected warmer than normal temperatures in Europe and increased storage inventories, analysts at Rystad Energy said, noting that European gas storage facilities were about 97% full in early December.

Exports to Asia were the second-largest market for U.S. LNG in December, accounting for 2.29 tons, or 26.6% of exports, up from 18.5% in November.

According to LSEG ship tracking data, U.S. LNG exports to Latin America amounted to half a million tons, or just under 6% of total exports.


Natural gas flows to the seven major U.S. LNG export facilities increased by an average of 14.9 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in January, up from a monthly record of 14.7 bcfd in December. LSEG data showed this exceeded the previous monthly high of 4.3 bcfd in November.

Portal contributed to this report.