Monday, January 31, 2011

LNG poised to grow in the Caribbean energy market: executive

Miami (Platts)--27Jan2011/554 pm EST/2254 GMT

The LNG market is poised to grow in the Caribbean region due to several factors that make it a more attractive energy fuel than traditional oil-based fuels, Rodney George, vice president of power plants for Wartsila Caribbean Inc. said Thursday.

"The stark reality is that oil is still king," George said at Platts' 11th Caribbean Energy Conference in Miami. "Natural gas projects have been elusive, though some changes are coming due to the rise in oil prices."

Oil-based fuels account for 95% of the Caribbean energy, but LNG is cheaper than low sulfur and high sulfur fuel oil, the current most widely used fuel products in the region. LNG is also a cleaner fuel than residual fuels oil, making it a more attractive investment for financial institutions.

Last week, LNG transporters, suppliers, and consumers met in Panama to explore small scale LNG projects for the Caribbean region. George said smaller projects are now preferred over large-scale ones.

In addition, LNG transporters are no longer restricted to big ships with 10,000-15,000 cu m vessels operating and more being built, George said.

Jamaica is an example of a Caribbean nation that has made a policy change to switch to LNG with plans to construct a small LNG port terminal, gas pipeline network and regasification plant. The same policy changes have been made in the French Isles, while smaller Caribbean Islands are also looking into it, George said.

In renewable energy, there has been a slow growth over the last five years with only a couple of projects done in the region, according to George, who added that he doesn't see any significant changes on that front.

--Luciano Battistini,

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Source: Platts