Gas industry eyes deeper reach into Asia

Efforts to export natural gas from northwest Colorado to Japan will continue and the United States might someday expand its natural gas reach as far as China, an industry representative said Friday.

Northwestern Colorado’s Piceance Basin, meanwhile, has a valuable role to play as a reliable source of natural gas for other nations and for domestic industries, according to representatives of companies with Piceance Basin interests.

Officials with the Jordan Cove project, which proposes to link the Piceance Basin with the Pacific Rim, as well as Nucor Corp., a steelmaker, and G2X Energy, which converts natural gas to methanol, spoke to about 50 people at an Energy Management Forum at Colorado Mesa University.

“We as a nation will supply LNG to China at some point in time,” said Bob Braddock, senior project adviser for Jordan Cove LNG, referring to liquefied natural gas.

China is now dealing with the consequences of reliance on coal at the expense of other cleaner forms of energy, Braddock said.

As a reliable source of natural gas, the Piceance Basin could play a part in smoothing out the booms and busts of the energy industry, both for areas from which it’s produced and for the industries and nations in which it’s used, panelists said.

“We need to avoid (price) volatility,” said Joe Stratman, executive vice president of Nucor, which owns a stake in Piceance Basin natural gas.

Nucor sought out Piceance Basin natural gas as a hedge that allows it a cost advantage in the steel production process.

G2X Energy is likewise seeking stability, said Danny Wilson, executive vice president of upstream operations, meaning those closer to the natural gas supply.

G2X owns a portion of the Piceance Basin through its partnerships, which have given it a vertically integrated petrochemical supply to its processing plants on the Gulf Coast.


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