Variations in Inland Transport Regulation: A Barrier to a Competitive Global LNG Market

Sat Jul 02 17:58:41 EDT 2016
Dr. Laura T. W. Olive

In a paper which originally appeared in Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, NERA Senior Consultant Dr. Laura T. W. Olive examines inhibitors to establishing a global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market akin to the global oil market. LNG trade has traditionally been dominated by long-term contracts between regions of resource abundance—those with excess supplies of gas—and regions of resource scarcity—those with a great need for fuel. Now, a new type of landscape is emerging with the impending entry of North American unconventional gas exports. These new exports are produced and transported by sellers in the competitive North American gas market. But there is little ability for exporters to reach foreign consumers because of regulation outside of North America, which, by and large, limits potential buyers to monopolies that own the regasification facilities, the transmission pipelines, and the distribution companies. Before a worldwide gas market akin to the global oil market can emerge, a paradigm shift in gas transport regulation outside North America would have to take place. Moreover, the cost of maritime gas transport would have to decline to make LNG more attractive than local unconventional gas production.