This year, LNG import levels in the U.S. are plummeting to levels not seen since 2003. It’s a sea change from 2007, when imports of liquefied gas reached record levels. The drop hammers home the U.S. market’s role as the port of last resort for worldwide LNG, according to Steve Johnson, president of Waterborne Energy Inc., a Houston-based consulting firm that specializes in LNG matters. A large bump in worldwide supply was supposed to hit the market in 2008, but supply projects throughout the world experienced delays. At the same time, worldwide demand has soared from a variety of factors, including a drought in Spain and a huge nuclear-plant outage in Japan. “A lot of factors combined to line up to create these record shortages in the U.S.,” he says. This situation is likely to be short-term, however. “I’m a believer that the market could drastically swing, and this time next year we could have a record import year,” he says. On the horizon, megatrains and projects in Qatar, Nigeria, Indonesia and Australia are scheduled to add a whopping 35- to 38 Bcf per month to the world market by first quarter 2009. by Peggy Williams, Senior Exploration Editor, Oil and Gas Investor Contact me at