North American Natural Gas Seeks Markets Overseas
A slew of multibillion-dollar coastal projects compete to ship super-chilled LNG to Asia and Europe.
Despite the challenges, proposals are now moving forward to make the Chesapeake Bay waterfront community of Cove Point, Maryland, into a global gateway for Pennsylvania shale gas, and to turn the remote British Columbia coastal village of Kitimat into an international energy hub.
In all, some 40 new export projects have been proposed in the United States and Canada, giant multibillion-dollar facilities to superchill natural gas into liquid form at -260°F (-162°C) so it can be shipped by refrigerated tanker. This liquefied natural gas, or LNG, takes 600 times less space, making it economical to move by vessel.
The LNG business has been around for decades; Japan, the world's largest importer, relies on such shipments for all of its natural gas. But