With the increase in America’s production and export of natural gas, some industry experts warn of bigger traffic jams among tankers at the busiest ports in the Gulf. The congestion is not exactly on par with an LA freeway at rush hour, but sizable enough to cause costly delays.
The story might sound, at first, a bit like David vs. Goliath: The little country of Qatar, one of the smallest oil producers in the Middle East, is currently locked in a diplomatic conflict with two of OPEC’s largest oil producers—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)—and their cohorts in the area, Bahrain and Egypt. But instead of wielding a slingshot, this “David,” according to its adversaries, is more likely to carry a bomb-filled backpack.
The multi-billion dollar investments currently being made in and near smaller ports along the Gulf Coast by some of the largest energy companies in the country are part of the long history of ports in the area.
Up until now, an estimated 60% of the world’s supply of natural gas has been locked in hard-to-reach places, like the ocean floor. With Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) projects, that’s no longer the case. These revolutionary facilities—technological marvels built to process, on site, natural gas trapped under the sea and far from shore—open up gas fields once thought of as logistically and economically unfeasible to monetize.
The “shale revolution,” as it’s been called, has led not only to the construction of new pipelines and LNG terminals, but also to a significant increase in this country’s energy exports. Less than a decade ago, U.S. gas production from conventional fields was in a downward spiral. And experts predicted that the country would become, of necessity, one of the largest importers of natural gas.
President Trump’s promise to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it, possibly through new taxes on imported goods from that country, has economic analysts keeping a close eye on the evolving – and currently contentious – relationship between the U.S. and its neighbor to the south. Many wonder what impact the new Administration’s policies might have on energy trade between the two countries.
Earlier this month, Pemex, Mexico's state-owned petroleum company, started importing LNG from Cheniere Energy's export terminal in Sabine Pass to Mexico's Altamira import terminal. These deliveries were the product of scheduled maintenance on the NET Mexico pipe in Texas, which starting during the holy week of April 9 - 15.
According to the LNG Outlook recently published by Shell, things look good for solid growth in the liquefied natural gas industry through 2030, though some indicators in 2016 briefly called that projection into question.