LNG17: Speakers urge industry toward more openness, cooperation

Calls for more and better cooperation between global LNG suppliers and market countries pervaded opening remarks from some of the world’s leading players at the first day of the 17th International Conference & Exhibition of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG17), Houston. The 4-day event convenes every 3 years.

ExxonMobil Corp. Vice-Pres. Richard Guerrant set the table by noting that LNG demand by 2040 will triple. By 2025, he added, the number of LNG importing countries will reach 40, while in the same timeframe the number of LNG supplying countries will double to 25.

Major trends he sees under way since 2010 include the movement of LNG into such niche markets as trucking and vessel fueling, the growth of unconventional plays—mainly in North America—in backstopping production projects, and the consequent transition of the US to a supplier of LNG from a market for LNG.

Guerrant addressed the US debate over whether it should hold onto natural gas and keep it cheap for those industries that use it or export the gas to provide an outlet for the increased reserves in unconventional reservoirs. He said he believed available and prospective production capacity can support both endeavors.

Finally, he especially noted the growth in floating regasification and storage in increasing the flexibility of supply movements.

These themes were echoed by Joseph C. Geagea, corporate vice-president and president of Chevron Gas & Midstream. The challenge, Geagea said, is “how can buyers and sellers work together” to meet the predicted surge in demand.

Natural gas has become the fuel of choice for most economies, which look to the fuel to solve their energy-supply problems, he said. Sounding a theme that informed Guerrant’s remarks, Geagea said that “industry has the responsibility to bring supplies to market” both to meet increasing demand and to keep the commodity affordable.

So that they can understand the pressures and concerns of LNG suppliers and ensure adequate supplies, Geagea urged buyers to take financial stakes in upstream projects.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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