North American West Coast LNG shipments will have a significant time and cost advantage over Gulf Coast options that depend on passage through the Panama Canal. To meet Asian LNG demand, Gulf Coast producers would theoretically need to send two to three ships a day through the Canal; however, transits are currently capped at seven a day total, and LNG ships are bound by logistical restrictions that have kept that to about one LNG ship a day. Even if that capacity was to be expanded, East Asian governments and LNG purchasers consider the Panama Canal a potential logistical chokepoint and a political risk.
The greatest challenge to U.S. natural gas resources in many regions is the lack of adequate takeaway pipeline capacity and export infrastructure. This is an opportunity for Western and Mid-Continent natural gas because the existing localized infrastructure is ahead of other regions and the cost to market is very competitive.
- Due to its unique attributes (the most important being proximity), Rockies natural gas production is the logical first choice for any Western North America clean energy export project.
- Long-term purchasers of LNG or the associated reserves should recognize the Rockies Basins’ inherent advantages in predictable production, cost and price security, and immediately available production-to-market pipeline infrastructure.
- The Potential Gas Committee estimates recoverable resources for the Rocky Mountain region are 437.1 trillion cubic feet.
- U.S. western Tribal Nations hold almost 10 percent of the known oil and gas reserves in the U.S.
- Western States Midstream Infrastructure – access to extensive and underutilized natural gas pipeline and processing capacity allowing unrestricted access from producing areas to West Coast
- Reduced Geopolitical Risk – West Coast LNG facilities would not require the use of the Panama Canal, a political risk as well as a shipping bottleneck and economic drag on overall LNG export costs for the customer