Looks interesting. I clipped this from the CNN webpage.
Creating LNG (liquid natural gas) involves cooling normal natural gas to 260 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, sending it around the world in superinsulated ships and then re-gasifying it at its destination.
"It's one of the biggest investment trends in the world," said David Talbot, with the energy research firm John H. Herald. "That's what's happening. We're going increasingly from crude oil to natural gas."
The reasons for the boom are primarily twofold.
The first is that the United States is using more and more natural gas because it's both cleaner burning than oil and economical.
Exxon estimates America's consumption of natural gas will rise from 65 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) currently to 85 bcfd in the next 10 years. But domestic production of natural gas will only increase from about 55 bcfd today to about 60 bcfd.
"The difference between production and consumption is increasing," said Exxon spokesman Bob Davis. "That's why you're hearing so much about LNG."
Exxon, which along with Royal Dutch Shell is one of the biggest players in the LNG business, is currently embarking on a $14 billion LNG project with Qatar Petroleum and ConocoPhillips (Charts) that will bring LNG into the Texas Gulf Coast.
That Texas LNG operation is one of three the company has going worldwide, with others in England and Italy.
They will all be fed with gas from a huge field off the coast of Qatar, whose state oil company has a 70 percent stake in the Texas project.
Previously much of U.S. natural gas demand was met by Canada, where it was easily shipped south via pipeline. But Canada's natural gas production, like America's, is expected to be flat or slightly declining. Speculation is that Canada will export less natural gas as the country's firms use more of it to extract crude oil from its massive tar sands reserve in Alberta.
This growing demand and limited domestic supply, coupled with the fact that under-ocean pipeline construction is not feasible, means there's money to be made by liquefying it (which reduces its volume by 600 times), putting it on a boat and shipping it around the world.
The second reason LNG is gaining in popularity is because natural gas reserves held by the big Western oil companies are growing faster than their crude oil reserves.
Talbot says the growth rate for natural gas reserves for seven big publicly traded oil companies is running at about 4 percent, while the growth in their crude oil reserves is less than 1 percent.