Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been an important globally traded fuel source since 1964. Technologies involving extraction, processing, and transportation have improved, and with those improvements has come a new wave of supplies to be traded and used. So what’s the latest news about LNG and its demand around the world today?
Most recently in Canada’s British Columbia (BC), new legislation was enacted in late July that will allow the provincial government “to enter into LNG project agreements” with other companies. One of the key projects to come out of the decision will be a U.S. $36 billion investment in the province by Pacific Northwest LNG, reportedly generating up to $8.6 billion in additional potential revenue for British Columbia by 2030. Infrastructure will include several liquefaction trains, storage tanks, and port space for two LNG carriers. If carried through, this will give BC long sought-after LNG infrastructure for a “struggling natural gas industry in Western Canada.”
Meanwhile in Europe, the European Commission has recently taken further steps towards determining how LNG will fit into the European Union’s future plans. The Commission opened up an official consultation period on July 8 to allow stakeholders to voice “their views on the challenges and opportunities they see for LNG and gas storage in the E.U.” In particular, the Commission noted that while LNG is used in Western Europe, insecurities in gas supplies warrant the consideration of expanding imports and better securing supply. Comments will be accepted until September 30, 2015.
Back in the U.S., the influential Brookings Institution released the fourth of a series of energy and climate briefings this July, looking specifically at the state of U.S. LNG exports. The briefing touched on the regulatory climate, current projects, and emerging worldwide suppliers. The institute made several key points: the market will largely determine how much LNG will inevitably be exported from the U.S., with uncertainties in emerging supplies and technologies as well as the global initiative to curb carbon emissions adding more volatility to projecting outcomes. Brookings points to emerging supplies in Tanzania, Mozambique, Australia, China, and eventually Iran that will bring uncertainties to global demand of LNG by the 2020s.