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U.S. becomes net exporter of natural gas for first time in 60 years

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Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Crews work along Route 22 in Delmont at the site of Sunoco’s new Mariner East 2 pipelines on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

The United States became a net exporter of natural gas in 2017, the first time it’s done that since 1957, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Natural gas imports increased by 1.1 percent between 2016 and 2017, but natural gas exports increased by 35.6 percent, leaving the country with a net export of 128 billion cubic feet in 2017, according to agency data.

A primary reason for the shift has been increased production in the Marcellus and Utica shales, significant parts of which are in Pennsylvania. As the Appalachian region supplies more gas to other parts of the country, those areas are importing a lower percentage of their gas from Canada, the agency said.

Planned pipeline developments will increase that shift, as will increased pipeline capacity into Mexico, which needs more gas for its power sector, the agency said.

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