May 14, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Trump's tightrope push on natural gas

illustration of donald trump balancing on a natural gas pipeline

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

President Trump is heading to Louisiana Tuesday to tout his record supporting natural gas exports right as his administration's trade war with China is making that same thing more difficult.

Driving the news: The higher tariffs China announced Monday include U.S. LNG. The increase from 10% to 25% on a range of goods from Beijing means the trade spat is deepening, and energy will continue to be collateral damage.

The big picture: Via the Houston Chronicle, "U.S. LNG exports are fast rising -- up to almost 3.7 billion cubic feet a day in February, a more than 35% increase over 12 months earlier. Last year China was the fourth largest importer of U.S. LNG, after Japan, South Korea and Mexico, according to the Department of Energy."

By the numbers: "Only four cargoes have been delivered to China from the U.S. since the tariffs have been in effect, compared to 35 cargoes in the prior September through April period," per a report from consultancy Wood Mackenzie out Monday.

  • "This is despite over 30% growth in both Chinese LNG imports (32%) and US exports (38%) over the same timeframes," the report states.

Quick take: Expect longer term consequences for LNG from the tariffs, per Reuters.

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