Study: Increase LNG Imports To Aid Manufacturing

By John S. McClenahen U.S. manufacturers, who account for more than one-third of natural gas consumption, don't need to be reminded that the price of the fuel and feedstock has more than doubled in the past few years. But what may surprise them -- and a few other kinds of companies -- is that a study from the Arlington, Va.-based Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, a business and public policy research firm, is suggesting increasing imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a "realistic and practical" way out of the current supply bind. The alliance urges regulators to expeditiously review permits for LNG import facilities in communities where public support exists. And it discounts the prospect of increased LNG imports producing a price-controlling gas cartel similar to OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The study estimates that if eight new LNG receiving terminals were built, LNG could meet more than 22% of domestic consumption by 2010 -- and reduce the cost of natural gas by 20% to 25% from current levels.

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