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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - JEDDAH — “Between 2008 and 2018, LNG trade flows increased from 172 MTPA to 314 MTPA, averaging 6% annual growth... Aramco expects global demand for LNG to continue to grow at 4% annually, breaching 500 MTPA by 2035,” KAPSARC’s recent paper titled “Aramco’s LNG strategy: Opportunities and Options” said.
KAPSARC’s latest commentary highlights Aramco’s efforts to double the Kingdom’s natural gas production and boost its infrastructure network by 2030 to achieve Saudi Vision 2030 objectives.
Since China and India are also forecast to be the fastest-growing oil and gas markets, having LNG in Aramco’s energy offerings ensures that Saudi Arabia retains its market share in these countries.
The report noted that the cost for reducing the burning of liquid fuels in the power mix and meeting the bulk of future power demand with gas is around $150 billion and may include the possibility of exports.
The paper mentioned that the company has already invested in and operated refining and petrochemical complexes internationally. As Aramco’s business strategy shifts toward more gas-related activities in the Kingdom, it also looks to add overseas gas assets to its international energy portfolio.
Additionally, LNG can provide an immediate and temporary solution to eliminate the use of liquid fuels from the power sector, as Saudi Aramco gradually ramps up gas production over the next decade. Plus, the flexibility offered by LNG contract terms and infrastructure can allow LNG to be used for a transitionary period without committing to fixed volumes of cargoes or having stranded importation facilities.
The paper also suggested that the LNG importing could additionally provide insurance against delays in the expansion of domestic natural gas production and infrastructure projects. KAPSARC has tested a scenario importing LNG into the western region from 2022, using a 5 MTPA regasification terminal, and found that most cargoes can be cost-effectively sourced from Egypt and Eastern Africa (Mozambique and Tanzania).
This strategy is aligned with the announcement that Japan and Russia are set to launch a $9bn LNG project in the Far East in a move that may shift the power dynamics of the growing global LNG market.
The new project will send gas via a 200-km pipeline to Russia and produce 6.2 million tons of LNG a year, nearly a tenth of Japan’s total LNG procurement.
KAPSARC is a non-profit global institution dedicated to independent research into energy economics, policy, technology, and the environment, across all types of energy. The Center is focused on finding solutions for the most effective and productive use of energy to enable economic and social progress nationally, regionally, and globally. — SG
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