LNG Confronts Its Demons

I am still waiting to see a project that brings CAPEX down to less than USD 500 per ton of installed capacity. That’s where we were more than a decade ago, and in any normal industry, one would have expected that technological progress would have brought costs down. Not in LNG – they rose and a still high price tag is assumed to be normal today. That’s as if your iPhone has not evolved for many years but its price is still way more than double it was 5 years ago. LNG liquefaction needs to shed its habit of building cathedrals and go into a much more mass production and standardization mindset. That’s hard for an industry that has loved its weird status of being exotic. But the world does not need exotic. The world needs boring, reliable, cost-efficient, unexciting LNG that does its job – no more.

The world needs more liquefied natural gas (LNG). Gas is a low carbon-intensive fuel and LNG can help to meet rising demand for energy in markets detached from the resource. But LNG has also been synonymous with poor project management. Several giant LNG developments earlier this decade suffered from runaway costs and delivery slippage. Investors still bear the scars, visible today in diluted returns.

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