BY ASHA JAVEED
The United States is becoming increasingly dependent on LNG imports, particularly from T&T, to meet its gas demands, a US Government energy representative said yesterday.
While traditional sources meet current demand, the US is now exploring new sources like Alaska, the Rockies and the Mackenzie delta in Canada.
“Traditional North American producing areas will provide 75 per cent of long-term US gas needs but will be unable to meet projected demand. New, large-scale resources such as LNG and Arctic gas are available and could meet 20-25 per cent of demand, but are higher-cost and have long lead times,” said Harvey Harmon, director for Natural Gas and Petroleum Import/Export Activities & Senior LNG Policy Advisor of US DOE Office of Fossil Energy.
Harmon delivered a presentation on the importance of Caribbean LNG to the US at the IBC/Energy Caribbean conference.
In 2003, US LNG imports rose to 1,388 million cubic feet a day (mmcf/d), almost double the 2002 amount of 627 mmcf/d.
In 2004, imports were 1,824 mmcf/d.
The US imports 75 per cent of its LNG from T&T which will continue to be an important supplier of LNG to the US, said Harmon.
He pointed out that LNG imports have the potential to provide five to 10 per cent of North American natural gas supply by 2010.
Harmon said the dominant driver for natural gas in the US is electric power generation and traditional supply sources would not be enough to meet the demand.
The US has stepped up drilling but gas output has been modest with demand increasing at a rate of 2-3 per cent a year, he noted.
The US consumes about 61.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas a day followed by Russia, who consume 42 bcf. This is significantly higher than other first world countries like Canada and Germany which consume an average of 9.2 bcf.
Asked about the impact of rising natural gas prices on US industrial output, Harmon noted that while rising natural gas costs are forcing US companies to improve their efficiency, demand continues to grow.
LNG prices in north America, which were about US$4 two years ago have now risen above US$7.
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