By BEN LEFEBVRE
EDF Trading and Exmar plan to export US natural gas using
offshore liquefaction equipment parked next to existing LNG
import terminals, the companies said late Wednesday.
The project proposed by the London-based
trading firm and Belgian shipping company is the latest attempt
by companies to profit from the growing supply of North
American natural gas. Recent advances in drilling methods have
increased the region's natural-gas supply and brought prices
well below those in most other regions.
Exmar said it plans to outfit barges with liquefaction units
while the companies await for US government permits to export
When and if the permits are acquired, the barges could park
next to one of the dozen or so existing LNG import terminals
and use their existing storage and pipeline infrastructure,
said Bart Lavent, managing director of Exmar's LNG
Doing so could give them a large head start over many other
gas-export projects, which must wait for
government approval before building their land-based
liquefaction facilities, the companies said. Even
Cheniere Energy, which already holds the necessary permits,
won't be done building its export terminal in Sabine Pass, La.,
"This is a quick solution," Mr. Lavent said. "Lots of import
terminals already have jetties and storage -- we would park
(the barge) alongside, produce LNG on the barge, and export it
from the jetty."
Each barge could hold a relatively small 1.5 million tons of
natural gas, Mr. Levant said. EDF and Exmar declined to say how
much the project would cost.
EDF would sell the gas to customers in Asia, South American
and Europe, company spokeswoman Michele
Reid said. EDF markets about 7.2 billion cubic feet of gas a
day, according to its website.
Spokespeople for the US Department of Energy and the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission didn't immediately reply to
Dow Jones Newswires