Can natural gas replace oil?

Natural gas is coming into greater prominence as extracting becomes less expensive and shipping infrastructure dramatically improves.

…natural gas is going to be so abundant, so cheap, and now so global. It can now be shipped around the world like oil with LNG ocean tankers and it could replace oil in much of our everyday lives, particularly for transportation and heating.

This would be many years in the future, but natural gas could be a disruptive technology.  It could be the hydrocarbon of choice for the entire world, replacing oil for most uses.

Pictured below is a natural gas tanker.

20090205-keith_schaefer

LNG terminals are being built around the world, especially in Asia.  The four big countries in LNG are Russia, Iran, Qatar and Indonesia.  RBC Capital Markets estimates global LNG production will increase more than 30% in the next two years, or just less than 10 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d). All the shale gas in the United States has increased production there by the same 10 bcf/d since 2002.  So the new LNG supply is the same as adding 3-4 major shale gas plays. …

Qatar, for example, basically has a zero cost on its LNG, because of by-product credits from other natural gas liquids in the mix. This means that the money Qatar makes on those other liquids pays the costs associated with the natural gas. While shipping and freezing/thawing the gas does have a cost, the point is the increasing new supply is fairly cheap gas by recent North American prices (RBC estimates $3-$4/mcf). Source.

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