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Sempra CEO Still Bullish on US LNG

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Jeff Martin, chairman and CEO of Sempra, formerly known as Sempra Energy, remains as bullish on US LNG as he was before the pandemic.

"The United States will be a significant player in the LNG growth that occurs," he told the Energy Intelligence Forum on Wednesday.

"We have the opportunity to offer consumers in the marketplace low volatility, low prices, the deepest capital markets and the opportunity to dispatch LNG out of the Gulf to Europe or off the West Coast to Asia,“ he said.

Martin's company is expected to be the first to offer LNG via terminals on both the North American Pacific Coast and the US Gulf Coast.

Different Parts of the Journey

"We start from a proposition that every nation is on a different part of their journey," said Martin.

It will be a mammoth task, Martin added, noting that China alone represents 50% of the world consumption of coal.

“They're going to need a lot of natural gas to support growing their economy at the same time they decarbonize it,” he said.

Also, countries like Japan and South Korea, which have been the largest buyers of LNG, will be supplemented — perhaps replaced — by countries like India, Pakistan and China.

“So, I do think you're going to see the continued need for LNG, and our internal estimates, show the market will grow by about 50% in capacity by the end of the decade," Martin predicted.

"While their paths to a low carbon future can significantly diverge, natural gas supplied to most of the world as LNG is always key to achieving the ultimate goal of a mostly net-zero-carbon world economy by mid-century," he said.

Partner But Not Perpetual

Martin is not a “proponent that natural gas will continue to grow in perpetuity,” but he’s still convinced that natural gas will serve as an indispensable transition fuel.

“I think many people realize that natural gas is the natural partner with renewables,” he said. “So, if you want to find the maximum efficient frontier for renewables, having the cleanest of all the fossil fuels there to load-follow and support renewable penetration is a big part of it.”

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