US LNG exports to be restricted by industrial demand: Goldman Sachs

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Political pressure and new demand from petrochemical plants and other manufacturers could lead to "very restrictive" liquefied natural gas exports from the US, a senior Goldman Sachs analyst said Wednesday.

"We will be hard-pressed to make those exports happen," David Greely, managing director of Goldman's global investment research division, said at the LDC Gas Forum Rockies & West conference in Los Angeles.

Greely said it would be difficult for any other US export proposals -- other than Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass project -- to come to fruition.

Rick Margolin, an analyst with Platts unit Bentek Energy, said many industries that had set up operations overseas are coming back to the US because of low gas prices and a stable operating environment.

About 70 industrial projects are very likely to move forward, many in the US Gulf Coast, according to Bentek. This translates into about 1.7 Bcf/d of new demand, Margolin said.

However, he disagreed about the viability of US LNG export projects. Bentek estimates four US LNG export projects will likely move forward, as well as two on the coast of Western Canada. Collectively, these would export 6 Bcf to 7 Bcf/d by 2020, Margolin said.

Margolin added LNG exports would not have a strong impact on the price of gas.
"It should give prices a little bit of a bump, but we don?t expect it to be a large bump or a prolonged bump," he said.

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