Summary: In a bid to double U.S. imports of natural gas by 2011, Charif Souki’s Cheniere Energy (LNG), in a joint project with Sempra Energy (SRE) and Exxon (XOM), is building three new terminals for liquefied natural gas along the Sabine River Channel by the Gulf of Mexico. Even though natural gas prices have sagged recently, Mr. Souki is forging ahead, because he sees a greater reliance on imported natural gas as U.S. production declines. According to Sempra Energy’s chairman Donald E. Felsinger, liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) “is going to have a growing importance... the gas that we find here in North America is getting more and more expensive to produce. And because there is so much stranded gas around the world, L.N.G. can be shipped here and compete very effectively with traditional supplies.” While LNG currently accounts for 3% of U.S. gas consumption, that figure is expected to rise to 10% by 2010 and 25% by 2020. Mr. Souki is betting that increased demand in the long run will prove him right, regardless of how low gas prices go in the short term.
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Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: BG Group (BRG), Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP), Plains All American Pipeline (PAA), TEPPCO Partners (TPP)
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