A weaker U.S. dollar is keeping the LNG away. Many commentators and analysts continue to hypothesize about the odds of increased U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas this year and next. It’s quite simple: As long as the U.S. dollar is weak and demand for natural gas across the Atlantic and Pacific is reasonably strong, free-agent LNG tankers will not come to the U.S., and new U.S. LNG regasification capacity won’t be funded. U.S. natural gas producers could be particularly grateful, since uncontracted LNG cargoes dumping their loads at U.S. regas terminals would mean depressed world natural gas prices. The cargoes landing in the U.S. would probably settle for prices under the spot, flooding U.S. pipes. The dollar is 50 cents to the British pound, and about 60 cents to the euro. A US$10-per-million-Btu bid for a tanker full of LNG would easily be beaten by a 5-pound bid by the U.K. or EUR$6.50 by Spain. According to one report, Japan bid the equivalent of US$16 for a tanker of LNG recently, while an important nuclear power plant went offline. And, Spain’s interest in LNG is growing, as its hydroelectric-generation capacity is reduced due to little rain. U.S. gas producers: Gather your prospects, rigs, roughnecks and frac trucks. The LNG is not coming. For more on this, see “Completions” in the May issue of Oil and Gas Investor. –Nissa Darbonne, Executive Editor, Oil and Gas Investor, A&D Watch, Oil and Gas Investor This Week, www.OilandGasInvestor.com; email@example.com
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