Global LNG: Now, Never, or Later?

Study Released January 24, 2013

Study No. 131

Low continental prices and an abundance of natural gas have generated interest both publically and privately to look into exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). Of particular interest are the Asian markets where North American exporters hope to arbitrage high Asian prices against low continental prices. However, North American LNG exporters are not alone in trying to access the Asian gas premium. Australia has committed to considerable LNG export capacities and other gas producing countries are following suit. Concurrently, the abundance of continental gas supplies has increased domestic natural gas end-user demand within the utility, petrochemical, industrial and transportation sectors as well as sparked a debate on whether the United States should export large amounts of LNG. Thus, exporting LNG has significant challenges and North American exporters face considerable risks. With multiple pressures facing the North American LNG industry, many have been wondering if the window of opportunity for North American exports has vanished. This study summarizes current regasification and liquefaction capacities, explains LNG pricing, and reviews some of the risks for North American LNG exporters. The study concludes with addressing the question of whether there is room for North American LNG exporters in an Asian-Pacific market.

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