U.S. is a net exporter of natural gas for first time in nearly 60 years

Published: Nov 27, 2016 4:20 p.m. ET

Domestic energy boom is reshaping global market

Bloomberg News
A ship carrying liquefied natural gas bound for Brazil is seen at port in Sabine Pass, Texas.

The U.S. has become a net exporter of natural gas, further evidence of the how the domestic oil and gas boom is reshaping the global energy business.

The U.S. has exported an average of 7.4 billion cubic feet a day of gas in November, more than the 7 billion cubic feet a day it has imported, according to S&P Global Platts, an energy trade publisher and data provider. Exports also topped imports for a few days in September, Platts reported. It has been nearly 60 years since the U.S. last shipped out more natural gas than it brought in annually, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The milestone comes less than a year after restrictions on most crude oil exports were lifted, allowing tankers of crude to be freely shipped overseas for the first time nearly half a century, and together they mark a significant and potentially permanent change in the way U.S. energy flows around the world. Overseas producers now have to deal with the growing clout of the U.S. energy industry, which is aggressively looking to ramp up its global market share to help offset a long period of low prices.

“It’s indicative of things to come,” said Sid Perkins, managing partner at the brokerage Ion Energy Group. Natural gas is “going to be taking on the characteristics of a global-macro market, like crude, where global factors will influence what happens to gas.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.