ExxonMobil Corp. expects worldwide natural gas demand growth between now and 2030 to be about 2.2% a year, the fastest among the major fuels. And as demand grows, the gas markets will globalize, the company’s president said Wednesday.

This year, ExxonMobil has announced more than $11 billion (net) in new potential projects across the globe, with some of the largest slated for the natural gas market, Rex Tillerson, who was named president earlier this year, told financial analysts in New York City.

“We expect to see ‘globalization’ of the gas markets as inter-regional trade expands,” he said. “On a worldwide basis, export volume represents an increasingly significant share of supply as it grows from 8% of total demand in 2003 to 22% in 2030, when exports are expected to be close to 110 Bcf/d. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is projected to represent about 14% of total demand in 2020.”

LNG imports into North America and Asia “are relatively small today, but each will grow to over 20 Bcf/d by 2030, significantly raising their importance,” he said. “On this horizon, we expect natural gas to shift from a regional to a more global market, enabled by advances in LNG.” ExxonMobil expects LNG volume to grow close to 300% by 2030, 16 Bcf/d in 2003 to 65 Bcf/d by 2030, “more than doubling its share of global supplies by 2030.”

ExxonMobil spends more than $600 million a year on proprietary technology, more than any of its competitors, he noted. While oil and natural gas will “remain the primary source of energy out to 2030,” he said ExxonMobil already has begun investing in alternative energies, such as solar and wind power.

“It will come as no surprise we believe our technology offers many advantages versus that of our competitors,” said Tillerson. “The rapid growth of our liquefied natural gas production in Qatar is a great example of the benefits of partnering with ExxonMobil.”

He said the company was using technology to redefine LNG beginning with the start up of a major gas-to-liquids project in Qatar. “We’re also planning to build the largest LNG tankers the industry has ever seen, 250,000 cubic meters versus the 150,000 cubic meter ships in service today.”

However, Tillerson said that even with its progress, “advantages don’t last forever, so the faster you deploy better ideas and new technology across your business, the more value you capture as a result.” He said the same holds true in emerging markets. Part of ExxonMobil’s strength, he said, is to rapidly develop resources and reduce project cycle times by leveraging know-how and technology across global opportunities.

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