(Montel) The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) revised up its 2020 LNG export outlook by 1.3% to 6.4bn cubic feet per day (bcfd) – or 181mcm/day – amid anticipation of heightened demand.
The rise reflects a 29% increase on the 2019 average, it said late on Tuesday in its short-term energy outlook.
Nevertheless, the EIA said the outlook, in light of the ongoing pandemic, remained uncertain.
“[The forecast] remains subject to heightened levels of uncertainty because responses to Covid-19 continue to evolve,” it said.
It added reduced economic activity related to the pandemic had caused changes in energy demand and supply patterns in 2020 and would continue to do so in the future.
While the EIA anticipated 2021 LNG exports to rise substantially to an average of 8.4bcfd in 2021, this was down 3.7% from last month’s estimate.
It pointed to expectations of natural gas demand recovery in Europe and Asia, as well as potential LNG supply reductions elsewhere due to outages at several LNG export facilities in both the Pacific and Atlantic basins.
Also, Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG terminal, in the US Gulf, resumed exports in October after being shutdown due to hurricanes Laura and Delta.
“[Furthermore] Cove Point LNG completed its scheduled three-week annual maintenance and resumed LNG exports in mid-October,” it added, regarding Dominion Energy’s terminal on Chesapeake Bay.
As such, the EIA forecast LNG exports would be above pre-coronavirus levels in November, averaging 8.5bcfd.
The EIA, meanwhile, revised down its 2020 thermal coal export outlook by nearly 4% from last month’s forecast.
Demand from key Atlantic basin customers has fallen sharply this year, in part due to the impact of coronavirus-related lockdowns and comparatively cheap gas prices on power sector demand.
The latest forecast, of 22.8m short tons (20.5m metric tonnes), was 40% lower than last year’s total.
It also revised down its 2021 outlook by 6.5% to 23.2m tons.
One short ton equals 0.9 metric tonnes.