By GURDEEP SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR -- US exports of liquefied natural
gas (LNG) are likely to be limited because of growing
domestic demand, and won't greatly affect rival producers or
the crude oil-based pricing of LNG in Asia, a senior executive
at Qatar's RasGas said Wednesday.
"I don't see the US exporting large volumes," Hamad Rashid
Al Mohannadi, managing director of RasGas, told reporters on
the sidelines of a conference.
The US could see another natural
gas revolution - an explosion in domestic demand - that
could limit its exports as production there levels off, Mr.
Qatar, the world's largest LNG exporter, could face
competition from US and Canadian companies looking to export
LNG to Asian buyers.
Demand is surging in Asia, particularly in China and India, and in Japan while all of its
nuclear reactors are offline. Mr. Mohannadi said RasGas is in
discussions with several Indian buyers.
Ultimately, US LNG
exports may only feed additional need for spot or short-term
cargoes in Asia, while most buyers will continue to depend on
already established LNG
projects for the bulk of their
long-term requirements, Mr. Mohannadi said.
So far, only one US project has received all of the
regulatory approvals needed to export LNG.
But several have been proposed because gas prices remain at
10-year lows due to the boom in unconventional production,
while prices in Asia are considerably higher.
Gas from unconventional resources such as shale now
comprises 35% of total US gas output, up from only 1% a decade
ExxonMobil, the largest gas producer in the US, said
recently that it is exploring the possibility of exporting LNG
from the US, but the industry remains unsure of how much LNG
the US could export.
Mr. Mohannadi said planning for LNG export terminals in
Canada has progressed more rapidly, but still faces financing
challenges because of the worsening global economic
RasGas is operating at 100% of capacity in Qatar, and will
produce 37 million metric tons of LNG
this year, Mr. Mohannadi said, adding that no more maintenance shutdowns are planned
for the year.
Dow Jones Newswires