UPDATE 1-U.S. exports first shale gas as LNG tanker sails from Sabine Pass terminal

miércoles 24 de febrero de 2016 23:34 GYT

(Adds detail, prices)

By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

SINGAPORE Feb 25 (Reuters) - The United States has exported its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo from the lower 48 states, after a tanker set sail from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana.

The Asia Vision LNG tanker left the dock at the Sabine Pass terminal at 0139 GMT (7.39 p.m. on Wednesday local time), shipping data on Reuters showed.

Expected to become an importer of LNG just a decade ago, the shale gas revolution in the United States unlocked cheap, abundant gas supplies, allowing the country to become an exporter instead.

The first U.S. exports come just days before production begins at the Chevron Corp-led Gorgon LNG project in Australia, the world's most expensive LNG terminal at $54 billion, and will add to a wave of supply at a time when demand is faltering in major consuming countries and prices plummeting in line with oil.

The first cargo of about 3 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas will go to Petrobras in Brazil, Meg Gentle, executive vice-president of marketing at Cheniere said on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference in Houston.

U.S. Henry Hub natural gas prices for January GT-HH-IDX fell to the lowest for the month since 1999 with near-record production of shale gas outpacing demand growth.

Spot LNG prices in Asia, where the bulk of LNG is consumed, were down about three-quarters from their peaks in 2014.

Cheniere Energy has six LNG vessels under charter, including the Asia Vision. The Energy Atlantic, another tanker chartered by Cheniere, has been waiting in the Gulf of Mexico since January and is also expected to transport LNG from Sabine Pass. (Reporting By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Michael Perry and Christian Schmollinger)