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Wider Panama Canal opens floodgates for American LNG to Asia

Surge in exports to Asian countries helps offset plunge in shipments to China

An aerial view of a ship passing the Gatun locks on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.   © Reuters

TOKYO/NEW YORK -- U.S. natural gas companies are gearing up to bolster exports to Asia, taking advantage of new transit slots at the Panama Canal to deliver the fuel cheaply and quickly to the other side of the globe.

U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas increased 60% to about 22 million tons for the first eight months of the year, much of it going to Asia. Shipments to Japan jumped 60% as the country seeks to diversify its supply. Exports to Singapore, Thailand and South Korea surged as well, helping make up for a 90% plunge in American shipments to China caused by the trade war.

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