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'Market for LNG to double'

'Market for LNG to double'

Madrid: The global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will double in the next eight years, the head of Algeria's state oil and gas company predicted yesterday at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid.

Mohamed Meziane, the chief executive at Sonatrach, also forecast that world LNG shipments will expand by eight per cent annually until 2020 as the volume of LNG spot trades grows on international markets.

Last year, the value of global LNG trade was about US$63.7 billion (Dh233.8bn), based on figures published in the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Mr Meziane's projections suggest that the market could grow to at least $127bn by 2016, and possibly much more in the light of rising gas prices.

Mr Meziane's forecast, reported by Dow Jones Newswires, followed news that Exxon Mobil, the US energy company, plans to bring significant Middle Eastern LNG supplies to market in the next two years.

"Joint ventures in Qatar, in which Exxon Mobil Corporation participates, will start up projects over the next two years that will bring more liquefied natural gas to market than any other international oil company," Exxon Mobil said.

Speaking in Madrid, Rex Tillerson, the company's chief executive, said new proprietary technology developed by the energy industry was facilitating the development of a global gas market.

"Not only will a global LNG market help supply increasing energy demand, it will also strengthen global energy security by helping to diversify supplies. And because it is cleaner burning than other conventional sources, natural gas has important environmental advantages," he said.

"Technological advances, pioneered with Qatar Petroleum and others, have enabled Exxon Mobil to achieve new economies of scale."

Exxon Mobil's plans to bring new LNG supplies to market hinge in part on a Qatari project - the Adriatic LNG terminal - which it is developing with the state-owned Qatar Petroleum and the US power company, Edison. Exxon Mobil said the LNG re-gasification project, which would have the capacity to provide 10 per cent of Europe's LNG needs, was nearing completion and scheduled to be moved into position offshore Italy in August. [3/7/08]