Looming Threat to LNG Exporters like Trinidad

Stumbled across an interesting chart in the McKinsey Quarterly. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from North America are now among the world’s low-cost gas producers, thanks to recent advances in recovering shale gas. They now compete mostly with projects in Africa, Australia, and Russia. The article didn’t mention Trinidad (given it’s a relatively small player now) but I’m sure that it competes with Trinidad’s LNG exports too.

Anyway, the exhibit below shows how the required breakeven costs of global LNG projects could shift in three North American export scenarios. The Canadian and US governments have so far permitted the building of six LNG export terminals, with capacity equivalent to 25 percent of current global LNG demand (moderate scenario). An additional 20 terminals, which could process the equivalent of some 75 percent of global demand, have also been proposed. Up to 70 percent of them could actually be built (high scenario).

If these additional projects were authorized and constructed, the market would need less capacity from higher-cost exporters in Africa, Australia, and Russia. Of course, the development of unconventional gas sources outside North America, the trajectory of gas demand in Asia, and the evolution of oil prices will also influence global natural-gas supplies.

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