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Exxon and Qatar Petroleum will proceed with a US$10-billion expansion of their Golden Pass LNG import terminal in Texas to turn it into an export facility as well, Reuters reports, citing source familiar with the matter.
The third partner in the venture, ConocoPhillips, however, will not be joining them in the expansion and has decided to sell the 12.4-percent interest it holds in Golden Pass, the sources also said, adding that Exxon, which has a 17.4-percent stake in the project, is the most likely buyer. Qatar Petroleum is the majority shareholder in the venture with 70 percent.
The Golden Pass terminal can accommodate up to 2 billion cu ft of natural gas for regasification right now. The sources did not detail the capacity of the future export part of the facility.
The Reuters sources also noted that Exxon and Qatar Petroleum have been forging closer ties in the liquefied natural gas segment across the world, from Qatar itself to Mozambique and the United States, which has thanks to the shale gas boom become an increasingly important exporter of LNG.
At the same time, Qatar is planning huge investments in U.S. natural gas as it seeks to retain the number-one LNG exporter spot, which last November was threatened by Australia. Down Under emerged as the largest LNG exporter globally for that month.
Qatar plans to invest US$20 billion in U.S. natural gas, part of a larger U.S. investment campaign by the Qatar Investment Authority that will total US$45 billion as it diversifies away from Europe.
Meanwhile, LNG capacity is growing along with demand. Earlier this week, oilfield services provider Baker Hughes’s chief executive, Lorenzo Simonelli said he expected new LNG projects with a total capacity of 100 million tons per year could be approved this year alone.
Global LNG consumption is seen to double by 2030, reaching 550 million tons.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.