World trade in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will grow at an annual rate of seven to eight percent over the next 10 years, a senior BP Amoco Plc executive said last week. "The large LNG projects that
people talk about in Egypt, Iran and Indonesia will support this growth," said Anne Quinn, group vice president of power and gas at an industry conference in Paris.
The projects include a $1 billion LNG plant
due to be built near Alexandria in Egypt, two major LNG projects in Iran set to produce up to 15 million tons of gas by 2005, and Qatari plans to increase LNG production
to 30 million tons from 13 million tons within the next four to seven years.
BP is currently short-listed in a tender to win a Chinese contract worth about $860 million to build an LNG plant and pipeline in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.
Quinn said for distances over 5,000 km LNG was becoming competitive against pipelines.
Traditionally LNG has been expensive because of high freight rates for LNG carriers, but with the prospect of global growth more tankers are expected to be built which should cut charter costs.
Quinn said natural gas trade as a whole had grown by 60 percent since 1990, and that the number of countries where it was traded had increased by the same percentage.
International trade in natural gas has blossomed due to a liberalization process both in the U.S. and Europe which has led to the formation of regional spot markets on both sides of the Atlantic.