U.S. LNG exports fall in April for fourth straight month

HOUSTON (Reuters)U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fell for a fourth consecutive month to 6.19 MM metric t in April from 7.61 MM metric t in March on production outages, preliminary data from financial firm LSEG showed.

Recurring mechanical problems have hit Freeport LNG, the second largest U.S. plant by capacity. Last month, the Quintana, Texas terminal exported five cargoes for a total of 330,000 metric t, compared to 21 cargoes and 1.42 MM metric t in December.

Since mid-January, the plant has been operating without at least one of its three gas processing trains. Freeport declined to comment on the latest production challenges. It has begun to increase its feedgas consumption over the last three days, LSEG data showed, and a tanker moored at its dock last Friday.

"We still believe Freeport will not reach its typical summer utilization near 90% until June, at the earliest, given its previous struggles to complete maintenance in a timely manner," Energy Aspects analyst David Seduski said in a note to clients last week.

The largest U.S. exporter, Cheniere Energy LNG.N, had reduced gas consumption for about 24 hr last month at each of its Corpus Christi, Texas and Sabine Pass, Louisiana plants. It declined to comment on a reason for the declines.

U.S. exports to Europe slipped to 3.25 MM metric t, or 52.5% of the total volume, from 4.31 million tons, or about 57%, of March's total, the data showed.

Asia held steady as a share of total volumes with the seven U.S. export plants sending 2.02 MM metric t of LNG to Asia, 32.6% of total exports, compared to 2.4 MM metric t, or 33% in March, the LSEG data showed.

One cargo went to Kuwait from Cameron LNG, the data showed. Exports of LNG to Latin American as a share of total exports almost doubled in April compared to March, growing to 850,000 metric t (or 13.7% of the total) from 550,000 metric t (or 7%) in March.

Sales of the super-chilled gas increased to Latin America, with purchases by Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, the data showed.

(Reporting by Curtis Williams in Houston; Editing by Jamie Freed)


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