Understanding the LNG War between Qatar and US

Train 7,  RasGas Expansion phase II

Train 7, RasGas Expansion phase II. Credit: RasGas

The U.S. stands poised to be the new biggest global LNG exporter uncrowning Qatar with its 30 planned LNG terminals and six more terminals under construction.

As per official data, from the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers and the International Gas Union, Qatar is said to have exported 77 million tons of LNG in 2016. Qatar’s sales to the Asian region has been accounted for nearly 60% and the country’s major export destinations have been South Korea, India, Japan, China, and the U.K.

In the near future, the U.S. stands to be the strongest contender to Qatar’s LNG leadership, with its annual LNG exports totalling to 330 thousand tons in 2015. The U.S. is likely to play a more active role in Asia and plans to invest in LNG terminals with expected completion between 2018 and 2024. The U.S. LNG terminals are inclusive of the Kenai LNG terminal and the Sabine Pass LNG terminals and with a few LNG terminals under construction, the total capacity is estimated at 57.55 million tons.

Kenai LNG Plant, Alaska.

Kenai LNG Plant, Alaska. Credit: ConocoPhillips Company

Currently, the second largest LNG seller worldwide with the capacity of 32.8 million tons of LNG is Australia. The planned investments are set at 63.8 million tons and this could help Australia outdo Qatar in the mid-term. Meanwhile, Russia the global leading seller of natural gas is also trying to adapt to the prevailing LNG trends. And, Iran wants to have a share in the LNG market. It is also reported that Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, Iran Oil Minister invited the French Giant Total in late April to invest in LNG.

Recently, five Arab states including Saudi Arabia have severed diplomatic ties with Doha and the international community is still waiting for the unfolding of overtones.

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