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U.S. And Australia Chasing Qatar for LNG Supremacy

Competitors in the global race to develop new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals have entered the final lap, and as it stands now, the United States and Australia are closing in on world-leader Qatar.

While LNG exports from the Middle Eastern nation in 2012 represented a third of the market, that trend is likely to reverse in the coming decade. According to the International Gas Union, Australia is building seven LNG projects worth $200 billion, tripling its capacity to about 86 million tonnes a year, and by 2018 will overtake Qatar as the world's largest LNG exporter.

The United States, however, is not far behind. The U.S. shale gas boom has created a bottleneck of gas in the States, and LNG exporters are keen to take advantage. Last week, Dominion Resources' Cove Point terminal in Maryland was authorized to ship LNG, becoming the fourth export project to win permission from the federal regulator and the first outside the Gulf of Mexico.

Related: Why U.S. Should Be Cautious About LNG Exports

Oilprice.com analyzed the roughly 50 LNG projects worldwide that have either been approved or are currently under construction. While LNG projects are extremely capital-intensive and notoriously prone to delays, the following timeline gives a current snapshot of when and where these new plants are likely to be built.

Curtis Island, Australia. Three LNG terminals on Curtis Island, Queensland, are under construction and scheduled for completion in 2014-15, with a combined processing capacity of 28.8 million tonnes per year (mtpa). Arrow Energy Pty Ltd. is developing a fourth terminal. The plants are the first in the world to convert coal seam gas to LNG.

Qingdao, China. Sinopec's 3 mtpa import terminal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Klaipeda, Lithuania. State-controlled operator Klaipedos Nafta will begin operating the floating LNG terminal in late 2014 to help Lithuania compete with its current sole supplier, Russian state-owned Gazprom.

Tolu, Colombia. Pacific Rubiales Energy and Exmar are expected to begin operating a Floating Liquefaction Regasification & Storage Unit (FLRSU) off the Caribbean coast by early 2015.

Gorgon LNG, Australia. The Gorgon LNG plant being developed by Chevron is slated for completion in mid-2015. The oil major is trying to lock in 20-year contracts for Gorgon -- the world's most expensive LNG project at $54 billion.

Sabine Pass, U.S. Construction of two 1.4-bcfd liquefaction trains at Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana was 65 percent complete in June. The plant is expected to be ready to supply overseas customers by late 2015.

Shenzhen Diefu, China. Construction of the CNOOC Shenzhen LNG Project started in 2012 and is due to be completed in 2015. The project, with joint investment by CNOOC Gas & Power and Shenzhen Gas, has a handling capacity of 4 mtpa.

Donggi-Senoro, Indonesia. Startup of the 2.1 mtpa LNG plant has been delayed from 2014 to March 2015. Shareholders include Mitsubishi, KOGAS, and Indonesian companies PT Pertamina and Medco Energi Internasional.

Wheatstone-Iago, Australia. Shell earlier this year sold its 8 percent stake in the Wheatstone LNG project for $1.1 billion to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. Chevron has the largest stake, at 64 percent. The 8.9 mtpa facility is targeted for completion in late 2016.

Elba Island, U.S. The first phase of the jointly-owned liquefaction project at Southern LNG Co.'s Elba Island LNG terminal near Savannah, GA, will provide about 2.4 mtpa of export capacity. Phase 1 is slated for startup in late 2016 or early 2017. Phase 2 will add two trains and start up in 2017-18.

Porto Empedocle, Italy. The 5.8 mtpa Porto Empedocle LNG terminal in Sicily is under construction and expects to start up in 2016. The plant is owned by Nuove Energy, a JV of Enel, and the Siderurgica Investment Group.

Kitimat LNG, Canada. A final investment decision on Chevron's Kitimat LNG project at Bish Cove, British Columbia is expected soon. A Chevron executive said in August that the company is waiting to sign sales and purchase agreements for 60 to 70 percent of the gas. Apache, its former partner, pulled out of the project this summer. The two-train project targets a 2016 startup.

Related: South America: The World's Next Unconventional Frontier?

Montevideo, Uruguay. In February, GDF Suez and Marubeni chartered the world's largest FSRU (floating storage and re-gasification unit), for startup in late 2016. The FSRU will form part of an offshore terminal, with storage capacity of 263,000 cubic meters, about the same as Qatar's Q-Max LNG carriers.

Cameron LNG, U.S. Sempra, GDF Suez, Mitsui, Japan LNG Investment, LLC
Cove Point, U.S. Dominion Resources
Freeport, U.S. Freeport LNG Development, L.P.
Jurong Island, Singapore. Singapore LNG
Map That Phut, Thailand. PTT LNG
Kitimat, Canada. Cedar LNG Export Development Ltd.
Kitimat or Prince Rupert, Canada. Triton LNG (AltaGas Ltd. and Idemitsu Canada Corporation)
Sakhalin 2, Russia. Gazprom, Shell, Mitsui, Mitsubishi
Yamal LNG, Russia. Novatek, Total, CNPC
Tornio, Finland. Manga LNG


Browse Basin, Australia (Ichthys LNG). INPEX
Scarborough, Australia. ExxonMobil, BHP Billiton
Magnolia LNG, U.S.. Liquefied Natural Gas Limited
PFLNG2, Malaysia. Petronas
Northeastern Italy. Smart Gas Monfalcone
Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. Anadarko Corp
Prince Rupert, Canada. (Pacific Northwest LNG). Petronas, Progress Energy, Japex
Coos Bay, U.S. Jordan Cove Energy Project LP

Lake Charles, U.S.. Lake Charles Exports LLC (Southern Union, BG Group)
Bonaparte FLNG, Australia. GDF Suez, Santos
Vladivostok, Russia. Gazprom
Port Hawkesbury, Canada. Bear Head LNG

Browse FLNG, Australia. Woodside, Shell Development (Australia) Pty. Ltd., BP Developments Australia Pty. Ltd., Japan Australia LNG (MIMI Browse) Pty. Ltd., PetroChina International Investment (Australia) Pty.
Vasilikos, Cyprus. Total E&P Cyprus BV
Kitimat, Canada (LNG Canada). Shell Canada, KOGAS, Mitsubishi, PetroChina
Goldboro, Canada. Pieridae Energy

After 2020
North Slope, Alaska (Alaska LNG). Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, affiliates of TransCanada, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil.

By Andrew Topf of Oilprice.com

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