America became the fifth largest exporter of liquid natural gas (LNG) in the world last year. With more liquefied natural gas plants coming online along the eastern and southern coastlines of the United States, the number of LNG export cargoes grew to nearly 500 in 2018, according to new data from the Department of Energy. Four LNG export facilities accounted for 483 shipments in 2018 compared with just 262 the previous year, an increase of 84 percent in the space of a year.
According to U.S. government data, 28 countries in total received LNG exports during 2018. However, just ten countries accounted for 82 percent of the U.S. LNG direct tanker exports that year and the top four markets shared 187 shipments between them. South Korea, the top destination, received 73 cargoes in all, followed by Mexico with 53, Japan with 37 and lastly China with 24. Of the remainder, Jordan, Chile, India, Turkey, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil took only a small number of shipments each. In addition to the standard large shipments of LNG in dedicated tankers, small shipments of LNG in special containers known as ISOs were sent to the Bahamas and Barbados.