The upcoming North America Gas
Summit, which will take place in Washington, DC, from
October 3-5, will bring together energy professionals,
regulators, and opinion leaders to discuss a host of issues
shaping the North American gas market.
Bill Cooper, president of trade association
Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG),
will serve as an executive panelist at the summit on October
Mr. Cooper spoke with Hydrocarbon Processing about
some of the issues impacting the market - including hydraulic
fracturing (fracking) technology for shale gas and
evolving trading dynamics for LNG
- prior to his panel session.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell
me how you became involved in the North American Gas
A: I was asked to host by a summit
representative. I think the summit is a great idea - an event
that combines both supply and demand features and brings both
ends of the natural
gas spectrum together for discussion.
Q: What does CLNG do to promote public education on LNG and
work with legislators on LNG initiatives?
A: CLNG was formed in 2004 when the need
arose for reliable information on LNG for the public and
policymakers. Of course, back then the focus was on LNG import
terminals, since we thought wed need to import gas over
the long term to meet demand in the US.
CLNG is composed of a broad group of energy providers and
trade associations. We hold fact-based discussions on LNG to
educate the public, support energy policy, and help ensure the
continued, safe transportation of LNG. A big part of our
mission is to take what we know to be true about our industry,
and use those facts to educate the public. Its a very
safe and reliable industry.
Q: Currently, there are several new LNG export facilities under development in
North America. Some LNG import terminals on the US Gulf Coast
are also planned for conversion into export terminals. Do you
see this North American gas export trend continuing into the
A: I am not sure that I would say a trend
has developed yet for exports. Certainly, a trend has developed
for the conceptual phase of LNG exports.
Q: Do you view possible regulatory limitations on fracking technology as a significant
impediment to US exports? In the absence of such limitations,
do you see shale gas facilitating a gradual shift in the US
from net gas importer to net exporter?
A: The development of shale gas
production in the US is important to meet the domestic
needs of US consumers. In fact, it is projected that the US should have
enough domestic production to meet domestic needs, so that
regulatory approvals can be obtained to export natural
gas in the form of LNG.
So, shale gas will be a facilitating factor in the development
of LNG exports.
To the extent that punitive regulations are pursued
regarding hydraulic fracturing, the development of shale gas
could be hindered, and thus affect possible LNG exports from
Q: Are there new developments in regasification and
liquefaction technology that will aid countries
(such as the US) seeking to maximize their LNG export
A: Technologies are being developed
continually to bring efficiencies to the facilities. To the extent that new
technologies are implemented and produce efficiencies and cost
savings, this will help projects move from the conceptual
stage to the operational stage.
Q: What changes will need to happen for natural gas
to become a more widely-used transportation fuel in the US? Who
will be responsible for making these changes?
A: For LNG to be a more widely-used transportation fuel, the
market needs vehicles that run on LNG and the infrastructure to
refuel them in enough places to encourage the consumer to buy
them. The market should be allowed to work to meet the needs
and wants of the consumer. We see the market working now in
respect to fleet vehicles and mass transit vehicles like
I certainly see the market developing, though. The
marketplace bears the responsibility for what products and
services consumers will buy, although the government also has a
role to ensure a level playing field and provide the
opportunity for creative minds to get products to the market.
Q: The US is a growing force in shale gas, and Australia is a
rising star in LNG. How will greater US and Australian LNG
exports impact global trading dynamics?
The ability to move LNG
cost-effectively from one market to another will hopefully
increase the use of natural
gas everywhere. Australia and the US are participants, but
not the only players occupying the field.
For more information about the North America Gas Summit and
Mr. Coopers panel session, titled LNG: an enabler
for North America realizing its export potentialwhat does
the future hold? please visit www.natgasamerica.com.
By Adrienne Blume, Process Editor