For Exports and Oil, You Can’t Beat Texas

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Texas is on an export roll, recording a new record last year with Houston leading the way and expecting more to come with the recent approval of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility. According to a report by US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Texas was one of 16 U.S. states to set new exports records in 2013, taking the top spot followed by California and Washington, while U.S. exports reached a new high total of $2.3 billion for 2013.

LNG is expected to provide an increasing volume of the area’s exports, with the approval by the U.S. government on February 11 of a Sempra Energy-operated LNG terminal in Louisiana. The approval will allow California-based Sempra and its subsidiary, Cameron LNG, to export LNG near the Texas border from Hackberry, Louisiana. Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. is already in the process of building a more than $10 billion LNG export terminal in Louisiana that has the capacity to export up to 3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

Another LNG export terminal project, Freeport LNG, didn’t turn out as well as planned. The project was green-lighted in May last year, but a new bid to ship more LNG from the terminal has fallen short of expectations, and the company is now facing excess capacity and expansion complications. In the meantime, though, Houston has become the number one exporter in the United States, as refineries and chemical producers capitalizing on oil and natural gas production increases.

Texas is holding on to its position of leadership in terms of oil production, with the state’s energy regulator noting the state had produced 54.4 million barrels of oil in November 2013 alone — 82 percent higher than five years ago. Last month, the Texas Petro Index, a composite of upstream factors, peaked at 295, suggesting state production was on pace for another banner year, Oilprice.com reported earlier in February.

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