LNG Summit: LNG key to meeting world demand to 2030

LNG will lead pipeline supply as natural gas leads other forms of energy to meet growing global demand through 2030, LNG Summit attendees were told in Rome Dec. 4.

Warren R. True
Chief Technology Editor-LNG/Gas Processing

ROME, Dec. 4 -- LNG will lead pipeline supply as natural gas leads other forms of energy to meet growing global demand through 2030, according to Tom Cordano, president of ExxonMobil LNG Market Development Inc., Houston. Cordano presented ExxonMobil's view of global energy, natural gas, and specifically LNG to attendees of the 8th LNG Summit in Rome on Dec. 4.

World energy demand during 2005-30 will rise by 1.3%/year, or by about 120 million boe/d. Natural gas will increase at about 1.7%/year and faster than either coal or oil. For natural gas, this is a slower than the 2.4%/year evident over 1985-2005. Asia and the Middle East lead the rest of the world's regions in that growth.

While natural gas demand in Asia will continue to see the generally the same markets—Japan and South Korea especially—driving demand as in recent years, both North America (less Mexico) and Europe will see major advances in demand for pipeline and LNG-supplied natural gas.

North America, said Cordano, will see "rapid decline in supplies" of domestically produced natural gas. Europe is seeing a "rapid deterioration in existing supplies from Russia and the North Sea." And, whereas in the past Europe was a relatively small player in natural gas demand, he said, it is becoming a major player.

So far as LNG is concerned in the global market, it will reach demand of about 500 million tonnes/year balanced among Asia, North America, and Europe in 2030 from a supply of a bit more than 100 million tonnes/year in 2005, with Asia dominating with about 75% of that amount.

Driving the growth of LNG, said Cordano, have been technology advances in each part of the LNG value chain: larger, more efficient trains; larger, more efficient LNG carriers; and larger designs of terminals.

But working against this growth in recent years have been rapidly rising costs of material and labor. Citing the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Cordano noted the fly-up in project costs of nearly 80% 2004-07.

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

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