PERTH, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Angola LNG is on track to deliver its first liquefied natural gas exports in early 2012 and is looking to sell its LNG to non-U.S. buyers after prices there plummeted due to an increase in domestic gas production, a company executive said on Monday.
“Our project was based, four years ago, on U.S. sales, but since the LNG market is not very good, we are looking for other opportunities,” Antonio Orfao, chairman of Angola LNG, told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Perth, Australia.
The 5.2 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) Angola LNG project is led by Angola’s state-owned oil company, Sonangol, which has a 22.8 percent interest and Chevron, which holds 36.4 percent. Eni, Total and BP each hold a stake of 13.6 percent.
Angola LNG’s plans to turn its focus away from U.S. buyers occurs in the wake of a rapid increase in shale gas production brought about by new drilling and extraction technologies which will bring U.S. gas production to a record high this year.
U.S. LNG imports have halved since 2007 with some import terminals re-exporting cargoes as the country’s demand is increasingly met by domestic gas production.
To market its gas, Angola LNG is creating new LNG marketing entity that will look to sell its gas to the most competitive markets, Orfao said, but would not specify which markets Angola LNG was targeting.
“We look for the best markets, it can be any place— our team is looking at different options,” Orfao said, adding that although there were no signed sale contracts yet, he expected sale agreements to be made in the next several months.
Rapidly increasing Asian LNG demand and higher prices for the fuel in the region have pulled supplies of the gas from the Atlantic region in the last few months.
Asian spot prices are around $17 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) , compared to the U.S. where prices are around $3.50 per mmBtu.