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LDCs, End-Users Meet Trio of LNG Suppliers in Washington

The U.S. market will never get all of their gas, but for one day at least the U.S. gas industry had all the attention of officials from four major liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters who met with representatives from government, utilities and end-users at a closed meeting in Washington, DC.

Government officials from Nigeria, Algeria, Qatar and Egypt met with executives from about 30 companies at a gathering Wednesday to discuss future natural gas supplies organized by former U.S. energy secretary Spencer Abraham's consulting business. Also in attendance, according to a Reuters report, were former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and Nigerian Oil Minister Edmund Dakoru, who also is president of OPEC.

On the one-day agenda were Abraham, CEO of the Abraham Group LLC; Charif Souki, CEO of Cheniere Energy; H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, second deputy prime minister, State of Qatar; Dakoru; Chakib Khelil, Algeria's minister of energy and mining; Hany Soliman, Egypt's undersecretary for gas affairs; Greenspan, president of Greenspan Associates LLC; Dave Parker, CEO of the American Gas Association; Bob Best, CEO of Atmos Energy Corp.; John Dearborn, Dow Chemical Co. vice president for energy; and Ron Lukas, KeySpan Corp. vice president for regulatory strategy.

Lukas, spoke briefly with NGI after the meeting. He called the event an ice-breaker and predicted more get-togethers in the future. Right now, he said, the U.S. market is a "black box" to the LNG exporters. "They definitely want long-term contracts."

Lukas was a speaker at GasMart 2006 earlier this year in Denver, and he previously talked with NGI about his company's plans for sourcing future gas supplies.

Lukas said KeySpan is looking forward to receiving regasified LNG from Nova Scotia via the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (see NGI, April 10). "LNG is big for us." Lukas said that he believes LNG project economics require the support of contracts from local distribution companies. While it's still early in the game, Lukas said that KeySpan has explored cooperating with other LDCs to contract for LNG-based gas supplies. "I think for the projects to be built, I think they're going to need contracts from LDCs.... I think you may see LDCs work together as a group on some of those projects." He said the efforts could resemble how a consortium of LDCs contracted for import pipeline capacity from Canada on the Iroquois system.

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