Aerial view of ship and natural gas plant (© Lindsey Janies/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
A tanker ship for liquefied natural gas departs from the Cheniere Energy Inc. terminal on the border of Texas and Louisiana. LNG can diversify a country's energy supply. (© Lindsey Janies/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

A U.S. company completed its first shipment of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to India.

Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan called the shipment to Dabhol, a port south of Mumbai, “a new beginning in the Indo-U.S. energy partnership and trade.”

Both countries hope to make investments in a diversified energy economy easier, according to Tom Vajda of the U.S. Department of State. “The United States views India as a partner in promoting shared strategic energy-security goals regionally and globally,” he said.

Natural gas fuels power plants and heats homes. Traditionally, producers have transported it through pipelines. But today, technology allows natural gas to come from anywhere in the world — in liquid form. The recent U.S. shipment is natural gas that has been compressed into liquid and safely transported via specialized tanker ships.

Energy diversity

The ability to import liquefied natural gas improves energy security. It means energy comes from different sources — a country is not dependent on a single resource or provider.

Two men shaking hands (© Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan (left) meets U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
(© Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. and India are working to improve energy security around the world and diversify both countries’ energy economies. U.S. exports of LNG now have a global footprint, with significant quantities going to Asia (South Korea, China and Japan), the Americas (Mexico, Chile and Argentina), Europe (Spain, Portugal, Poland and Lithuania) and the Middle East (Jordan, Kuwait and Egypt).

The recent shipment to India is part of a 20-year contract between India’s Gail Limited and Texas-based Cheniere Energy. “India is one of the most prolific economies in the world, and growing economies need access to energy,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a March 28 meeting with Pradhan, the Indian minister.

Cheniere Energy has been exporting LNG from its Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana since February 2016.

In March 2018, Dominion Energy’s Cove Point facility in Maryland became the second major U.S. LNG export facility to come online. It also will provide LNG to Gail Limited.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry estimates that new U.S. LNG facilities currently under construction could allow the export of 280 cubic meters of LNG per day to partners around the world. “We’re not just exporting energy, we’re exporting freedom,” he said.