U.S. Seen Being Liquefied Gas Exporter in 2016 on Fracking Gains

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. will become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas in 2016 as hydraulic fracturing boosts domestic supplies, the Energy Information Administration said.

U.S. will sell abroad 1.1 billion cubic feet of LNG a day in 2016, and add 1.1 billion cubic feet three years later, the agency said today in its annual forecast. The U.S. will also sell more natural gas to Mexico via pipelines, according to the agency, a part of the Energy Department.

“With supply growing faster than consumption over the next decade, natural-gas production exceeds domestic consumption,” Howard Gruenspecht, acting administrator for the Energy Information Administration, said during a conference in Washington. The surplus will be exported “primarily to Mexico and overseas,” he said.

Cheniere Energy Inc. in May won Energy Department approval to export natural gas as a liquid using ships. Sempra Energy, and Freeport LNG in partnership with Macquarie Group Ltd. are seeking similar export permits.

Manufacturers using natural gas, supported by Democrats including Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, oppose exports, citing concerns it would raise prices at home.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process of extracting natural gas from shale rock by injecting millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals. Fracking will boost gas supply 20 percent to 26.1 trillion cubic feet in 2025, from 21.7 trillion cubic feet in 2010, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katarzyna Klimasinska in Washington at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net