In the opening speech at the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference in Tokyo, Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, declared that gas prices will continue to be localised. The global gas markets, he claimed, will remain divided into three main regions where inconsistencies in pricing, structure, and market outlook will continue, despite efforts by Asian consumers to alter the pricing structure.
The Minister also referred to the changing trends in the American market, asserting that the shift from coal to shale gas had reduced both prices and CO2 emissions. “Ironically”, he sad, “while natural gas led the US to record the world’s largest decline in coal consumption, excess American coal production was finding its way across the Atlantic. Europe’s coal imports jumped 23% in 2012, as many utilities across the continent shut down their modern gas-fired plants and began burning cheaper coal instead. This does not reflect very well on Europe’s declared strategic priorities vis-a-vis climate change, and the reduction of CO2 and other harmful gas emissions.”
Asia: ecomonic growth
For Al-Sada, Asia was responsible for growing energy demand on a global scale: “Thanks to a robust economic growth and increasing populations, Asian economies are not just demanding more energy, but also cleaner and more flexible energy,” he said.“In 2012, Asia imported an additional 15.6 million tons of LNG, representing a 10% increase over 2011. Japan alone was responsible for over 50% of Asian LNG consumption growth, but that is mostly due to the shutdown of its nuclear reactors.”
Al-Sada purported that due to the recent construction of LNG terminals, the LNG supply market is projected to grow over the next five years. “Such additions”, he said, “may not be enough to meet the increasing appetite of new emerging markets including the Middle East and South America, along with the expected growth in global consumption by recovering traditional economies.”
“Producers and consumers have a shared responsibility to foster confidence in the future of LNG, and to encourage the establishment of an efficient and stable market environment, an environment where producers can confidently invest in developing capital intensive resources and where consumers can commit to provide a stable and viable demand,” he said.
Edited from various sources by Ted Monroe
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