US natural gas exports could find buyers in the oil-rich Gulf as countries there look to meet surging demand.
Growing US exports of liquefied natural gas could be an additional source of gas supply to the region, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi.
Jordan, the UAE and Egypt have been buyers of LNG from the Sabine Pass complex in the US the past two years, according to Bloomberg vessel tracking, IHS Markit and Genscape.
“We want to be in the mix of LNG suppliers for the Mideast,” Perry said at the news conference. “Creating a relationship, having these conversations is good, it gives the UAE some options.”
The US offered gas to Saudi Arabia, he said.
Gulf oil producers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE rely on gas to power their industries, run household air conditioning units and support petrochemicals production. While the Gulf is rich in crude oil, its gas resources are concentrated in just a few countries. Qatar and Iran share the world’s biggest gas deposit, located in the Arabian Gulf.
The US, flush with supply of gas and oil from cracking open shale deposits, has one LNG export facility and is working to bring others on line. The US and Australia, also developing an LNG export market, could rival Qatar as the world’s biggest supplier if they complete all their projects.
The possibility of more shipments from the US comes as the UAE and Saudi Arabia are leading a trade ban against Qatar, currently the world’s LNG producer.
US suppliers and UAE buyers have held talks about trading more of the fuel, Mazrouei said in an interview in Abu Dhabi. Electricity use in the region is rising about 6 percent a year, requiring increased supplies of gas, he said.
“It’s an open market and we welcome all of the companies from the US to come and explore this market," Mazrouei said.
Even as more imports become available, the UAE wants to wean itself off foreign gas. The country’s contract for supply of natural gas from Qatar through the Dolphin Energy Ltd. pipeline expires in 2032.
“We can achieve self-sufficiency by 2030,” Mazrouei said. That can occur as more renewable energy projects come on stream, he said.
The US and UAE agreed to expand cooperation in development, trade in oil, gas, coal, LNG, and technologies related to carbon capture, use and storage during meetings this week. Perry also discussed civilian nuclear projects with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
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