US engineering firm says unconstrained LNG exports not likely

22 May 2013 23:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Unconstrained exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the US is a concern that is highly unlikely because of the permitting process, transportation, labour issues and global competition, a director at a US engineering firm said on Wednesday.

“The first is the permitting process in this country is very long. It will take a number of years for each facility to get permitted,” said Roger Smith, director of corporate strategy at Fluor.

Another constraint is transportation and pipelines delivering supplies, he said during the KPMG Global Energy Conference hosted by the US consultancy firm.

“We need more pipelines. We need more structures. It has to take time to allow that,” he added.

Smith said a major issue is the shortage of capital labour, particularly craft labour.

Fluor in the 2006-2010 period, we worked on five refinery [projects] in the US, and in our work, we had a peak of 22,000 crafters,” he said.

“What we see coming – this is just a list of what we’re working on and just in the Gulf Coast and only in chemicals and LNG type of facilities – we see a peak of over 50,000 craft needs, so it’s a huge wave,” he said.

Smith added that a fourth constraint is global competition.

“When you look at LNG exports, currently there are over 60 LNG plants that are planned or under construction around the world,” he said.

Geographically, Australia has an advantage as it is closer to Asia, where demand is high, he added.

The KPMG Global Energy Conference concludes on Thursday.

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By: Tracy Dang
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