Qatari Energy Minister Calls for Cooperation to Encourage Stable LNG Market Environment
In a keynote speech at the opening of the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference in Tokyo, Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar, said “gas prices will remain regionalized for the foreseeable future”. He also said that the global gas market will continue to be divided into three main regions with persisting discrepancies in pricing, market outlook, and structure, despite Asian consumer efforts to change the pricing structure.
Al-Sada presented a comprehensive overview of the three regions and the developments that have characterized them. He noted the American market’s shift from coal to shale gas in power generation, driving both prices and CO2 emissions down.
“Ironically, while natural gas led the U.S. to record the world’s largest decline in coal consumption, excess American coal production was finding its way across the Atlantic. Europe’s coal imports jumped 23% in 2012, as many utilities across the continent shut down their modern gas-fired plants and began burning cheaper coal instead. This does not reflect very well on Europe’s declared strategic priorities vis-a-vis climate change, and the reduction of CO2 and other harmful gas emissions,” he said.
AL-Sada said Asia was the driving force behind most of the growth in the global energy demand. “Thanks to a robust economic growth and increasing populations, Asian economies are not just demanding more energy, but also cleaner and more flexible energy,” he added.
“In 2012, Asia imported an additional 15.6 million tons of LNG, representing a 10% increase over 2011. Japan alone was responsible for over 50% of Asian LNG consumption growth, but that is mostly due to the shutdown of its nuclear reactors,” the minister commented.
The Minister of Energy and Industry expressed the view that the next five years will see some growth in the global LNG supply picture, thanks to new production facilities in Australia and North America. However, he said that “such additions may not be enough to meet the increasing appetite of new emerging markets including the Middle East and South America, along with the expected growth in global consumption by recovering traditional economies.”
He said “producers and consumers have a shared responsibility to foster confidence in the future of LNG, and to encourage the establishment of an efficient and stable market environment, an environment where producers can confidently invest in developing capital intensive resources and where consumers can commit to provide a stable and viable demand.”
The Minister concluded his remarks by paying tribute to four decades of diplomatic ties between Qatar and Japan, which Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, is keen to develop, and which was built on mutual cooperation, friendship, trust and support.
He said “Japan is Qatar’s largest trading partner, with a total trade volume exceeding 37 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. Qatar is Japan’s second largest LNG supplier and is Japan’s third largest crude oil supplier.”
LNG World News Staff, September 13, 2013; Image: Qatargas