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Natural gas imports into the U.S. 1955-2019

In 2019, the United States imported 2,741 billion cubic feet of natural gas. U.S. imports of natural gas strongly increased from the 1990s to the early 2000s and seemed to have peaked around the mid-2000s. However, natural gas production, consumption, and exports have reached some of its highest levels in 2017.

Exports exceeding imports

As imports of natural gas in the United States have fallen since 2005, U.S. natural gas exports have risen dramatically, especially from 2015 onward. Around this time, demand for natural gas exports to Mexico increased, and within a few years, exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) made up a significant portion of overall demand for the first time.

Fracking since the financial crisis

The rise in exports of LNGs and decrease in imports to the United States was driven in large part due to changes in the natural gas industry following the 2008 Recession. As the price of oil peaked following the financial crisis, natural gas took hold after several years of decreasing costs. The price of natural gas continued to drop as investors seized on low interest rates to develop new methods of natural gas production, mainly through hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). This method is used to access natural gas and oil in formations that were previously difficult to reach, as well as to extend production in older oil and gas fields.

Total natural gas imports into the United States from 1955 to 2019

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Release date

March 2020


United States

Survey time period

1955 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Figures through 1970 are taken from the 2010 Annual Energy Review, page 197, released by the EIA in October 2011.

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