Dominion Energy’s Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility became operational today, as a ship loaded with natural gas left the port this morning. The Cove Point facility is the first natural gas export facility to become operational on the U.S. East Coast. The only other operational facility in the continental United States is at Sabine Pass, Louisiana.
Cove Point LNG export pier. Image courtesy of Acroterion – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35273497
Russia leads the world in natural gas exports, yet American natural gas is less costly to produce and sells at a much lower price than Russian natural gas. With the Sabine Pass facility opening in 2016 and the Cove Point facility opening today, American energy producers are beginning to take global market share away from the Russian government.
In addition to bolstering the American economy, the export of affordable American natural gas will reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. Natural gas power emits just half as much carbon dioxide as coal power. Rapidly developing nations like China and India demand cleaner-burning energy sources but currently have few alternatives that can compete with low-cost coal power. Natural gas power in America, however, is less expensive than coal power. Making low-cost American natural gas available to overseas nations will likely accelerate those nations switching from coal power to natural gas power.