BY SAM BARNES / GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT
Liquefied natural gas plants aren’t built overnight, so long-range economic forecasts—rather than today’s supply and demand—play a much bigger role in an owners’ investment decisions. And while a global overabundance of natural gas and cheap oil is dampening current LNG export expectations, many owners remain bullish on Louisiana continuing its trajectory toward becoming a major hub by 2020.
In fact, with more than $88 billion in LNG projects planned, under construction or in operation, the state is poised to become the center of the LNG universe.
Regardless of short-term market variables, Jason French, chairman of the Louisiana Energy Exports Association, says satisfying long-term demand requires “a major LNG facility to be built somewhere in the world every year between now and 2035.”
The World Trade Center of New Orleans and several leading LNG companies launched LEEA in February to promote industry growth and lobby for pro-LNG public policies.
“The global LNG market is undergoing a shift, reacting to the fact that the U.S. has become a significant exporter of LNG,” says French. “By the end of the decade the U.S. will be one of the top three LNG producers in the world, and the bulk of that LNG is coming from Louisiana.”