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U.S. Natural Gas Imports & Exports: 2008
Released: September 11, 2009
Next Release: September 2010
This report provides an overview of U.S. international natural gas trade in 2008. Natural gas import and export data, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) data, are provided through the year 2008 in Tables SR1-SR9.
2008 Overview
In 2008, increased U.S. natural gas production led to reduced demand for natural gas imports. The drop in total imports occurred despite a 2007-to-2008 increase in domestic consumption—a factor that typically requires higher levels of imports to meet consumer demand. Total exports to Mexico and Canada via pipeline and Japan via LNG tanker were higher in 2008. Consequently, net imports to the United States fell more than 20 percent from 2007 totals to the lowest level since 1997. The decline in U.S. natural gas imports had a larger impact on LNG imports than Canadian pipeline imports. Given the ease of transporting gas to alternative markets, some LNG that historically landed in the United States went elsewhere in 2008.
2008 Highlights

  • With the large drop in total imports, net imports only accounted for around 13 percent of U.S. consumption in 2008. In recent years, net imports have represented around 16 percent of domestic consumption.

  • Consistent with domestically produced natural gas traded in the U.S. marketplace, annual import and export prices were both about 25 percent higher in 2008. Monthly prices peaked in July. A run-up on natural gas prices began in the spring before a weakened economy drove prices below 2007 levels by the end of the year.

  • In 2008 there was a 9 percent decrease in net imports from Canada. Despite this decrease Canadian pipeline imports continued to account for the vast majority of U.S. natural gas imports. In 2008 Canadian imports accounted for 90 percent of total U.S. natural gas imports.

  • Net exports via pipeline to Mexico were up 35 percent from 2007. The 2008 total is the third highest volume on record. Only in 2003 and 2004 were net Mexican exports higher.

  • Net LNG imports were down 58 percent from the record totals of 2007. Although LNG makes up a small percentage of the total U.S. imports, that share fell from 17 percent in 2007 to 9 percent this year.

  • Even with lower levels of LNG imports, 2008 saw three new LNG facilities come on line. The three new facilities were Sabine Pass in Louisiana, Freeport LNG in Texas, and Northeast Gateway offshore of Massachusetts. As the Gulf of Mexico terminal didn't receive any deliveries in 2008, a total of seven LNG terminals supplied natural gas to U.S. markets.

  • For the first time, the United States imported a small proportion of LNG from Norway in 2008. However, the number of countries supplying LNG to the United States declined with imports ceasing from Algeria and Equatorial Guinea. In 2008 LNG exports went primarily to Japan, after a small amount went to Russia in 2007.
Contact:  Damien Gaul (Damien.Gaul@eia.doe.gov or 202-586-2073) or Andy Hoegh (Andrew.Hoegh@eia.doe.gov or 202-586-9502)
SR1. Historical Summary of U.S. Natural Gas Net Imports, 1955-2008
SR2. Summary of U.S. Natural Gas Imports, 2007-2008
SR3. Summary of U.S. Natural Gas Exports, 2007-2008
SR4. Historical Summary of U.S. Natural Gas Imports, 1955-2008
SR5. Historical Summary of U.S. Natural Gas Exports, 1955-2008
SR6. U.S. Natural Gas Imports by Point of Entry, 2007-2008
SR7. Summary of U.S. Natural Gas Imports, 1978-2008
SR8. U.S. Natural Gas Exports by Point of Exit, 2007-2008
SR9. Summary of U.S. Natural Gas Exports, 1978-2008
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SR1. Flow of Natural Gas Imports and Exports, 2008
SR2. Net Imports as Percentage of Domestic Consumption, 1994-2008
SR3. U.S. Natural Gas Imports and Exports, 1994-2008
SR4. U.S. Natural Gas Import & Export Prices, 2007-2008