The abundance of US natural gas will create new markets for its use both foreign and domestic, speakers at a pipeline conference in Houston said Wednesday.
"We see exports of LNG by 2016," Adam Bedard, a senior director of energy analysis at Platts unit Bentek Energy, said at the Pipeline Opportunities Conference, sponsored by Pipeline and Gas Journaland the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.
He added that gas would also increase its share of the power-generation market relative to coal because gas is cleaner and less expensive (see related story inside this issue).
Bedard said on the sidelines of the conference that market conditions favor the export of gas via existing LNG import terminals, which are racing each other to add liquefaction and export capabilities.
"Look at all of the LNG facilities that are pursuing reversing their facilities," he said. A total of nine companies have applied for federal approval to export domestic gas as LNG.
"Gas prices here remain low; supplies are in abundance. We're going to test the limits of storage and operators are shutting in. So on the supply side the US is well-supplied," he said.
"On the export side, they're getting the necessary approvals and there's a big market overseas for LNG. So if you believe in rational markets and if this country can allow it to happen, it will certainly happen."
But some members of Congress and representatives of the manufacturing industries that use natural gas as a feedstock have called for a ban on the export of gas, claiming it would drive up prices and harm US consumers.
"I think that's a protectionist view. We have a big current accounts deficit in this country," Bedard said. "As we export natural gas, it will help us as a country. It will strengthen our current accounts balance and our positioning in the world."
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