A new race to build multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants is gaining momentum after a long hiatus in investments as energy giants sense a widening supply gap within five years. Qatar, the world’s largest LNG producer, is preparing to expand its facilities by around one third to produce 100-108 million tonnes per year (mtpa) by 2023-2024. A major change in the outlook happened after China strongly boosted imports of LNG in recent years to reduce coal burn in its fight against pollution. The main source of growth is expected to come from the United States, where supplies rose sharply and prices plummeted with the expansion of shale drilling. The renewed confidence in the outlook for LNG and the recovery in oil prices that has led to a surge in revenue for energy companies, boards are getting ready to invest.

Global demand for LNG surged by 12 percent in 2017, far exceeding forecasts, and is expected to grow by up to 10 percent in 2018, according to analysts at Bernstein. Oil and gas companies have heralded LNG as the fossil fuel of the future thanks to its relatively low carbon emissions. Reuters

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