Last year, Duke Energy’s LNG imports soared 337% to 30.6 Bcf.But 1998 is expected to be even better because the recent economiccrisis in Asia has stifled demand while LNG shipping and productioncosts have been declining. Duke Energy LNG Sales announcedyesterday it purchased three more spot cargoes of liquefied naturalgas (8.9 TBtu) from the North West Shelf LNG Project in Australia.The company has arranged to sell the LNG in U.S. markets in June,August and November. It will be imported at Duke’s Trunkline LNGreceiving terminal located in Lake Charles, LA. The shipments willcome from North West Shelf’s liquefaction facilities located atWithnell Bay in the port of Dampier in Australia.

The purchase “demonstrates that imported LNG to the U.S. GulfCoast can be competitive when the energy market risks arecreatively managed,” said Bruce Williamson, chairman of Duke EnergyLNG Sales. “As a result, Duke Energy LNG continues to actively seekadditional volumes of LNG.”

Australian LNG was imported to the U.S. for the first time lastyear and this will be only the second time Duke has purchased LNGfrom that country. The LNG cargoes from Australia are in additionto deliveries to be received by Duke under its long-term agreementwith Sonatrading, the marketing company for Sonatrach, the nationaloil and gas company of Algeria.

Earlier this month, Trunkline LNG President Wayne Perry saidTrunkline likely will bring in 11 Algerian LNG cargoes in 1998 forTrunkline’s long-term contract with Citrus Trading and another fivespot cargoes-compared to one last year-for its own marketingprogram.

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