Thursday, June 16, 2005

Demand fuels desire to import Natural Gas

Limited domestic supplies and surging demand for natural gas is fueling the push to import LNG.

International energy companies, the Bush administration and governments in gas-rich countries are aggressively championing the creation of a global market for natural gas, with the United States at its center as the largest importer. They are promoting the fuel as more plentiful and less polluting than oil and needed to sustain economic growth.

But in the same way that American oil output began to fall short in the 1960's and has steadily diminished as a source of energy, the United States is already running low on its own production of natural gas. To fill the gap, vast amounts of gas will have to be imported -- in liquefied form, arriving by tanker on the coasts of the United States or elsewhere in North America.

Like oil, large reserves of natural gas are found far from the big markets for the fuel, in countries like Qatar, Iran, Russia, Angola, Yemen and Algeria. Competition for gas projects in these places has prompted a frenetic race among international oil companies to meet demand for the fuel in rich industrialized countries.

Let's just hope that with all the competition, at least a few of the projects actually come to fruition!