US major Chevron wants to grow its LNG business as part of a strategy to expand in oil and gas more generally, and sees the US and the East Mediterranean as key growth opportunities.
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Chevron's vice president for midstream, Colin Parfitt, told S&P Global Commodity Insights the company had now become a more global LNG player, with Europe an obvious target for more LNG as the EU looks to replace lost Russian gas.
"Our global footprint has changed, and we're trying to enable some of that supply to Europe where it is clearly needed at the moment," Parfitt said in an interview on the sidelines of the Gastech conference in Milan.
"The US has plenty of gas -- it's just a question of liquefying it and transporting it, while the East Mediterranean is close to Europe. Those are the obvious places to help Europe with its supply need," he said.
Chevron traditionally focused its LNG business on supplying volumes from its key northwest Australian projects to North Asia, but has set its sights on becoming more global.
In June, it signed two major US LNG deals, taking volumes from US liquefaction plants operated by Cheniere Energy and Venture Global. Combined, the two agreements will see Chevron take 4 million mt/year of US LNG.
"We're now becoming a more global player -- we're enabling gas from the US to come through as LNG," Parfitt said.
Chevron has gas production assets in the Permian Basin and is looking at LNG exports as an outlet for those volumes.
"We have gas in the Permian Basin, and now we have deals with LNG plants, so we can translate that gas into supply to European customers," Parfitt said.
Europe is increasingly looking to LNG having committed to phasing out pipeline gas supplies from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in February.
European gas prices have also remained higher than anywhere else globally, and are still trading at a premium to Asian spot gas prices.
Platts assessed the Dutch TTF month-ahead gas price at an all-time high of Eur319.98/MWh Aug. 26, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights. It was last assessed at Eur248.60/MWh Sept. 5.
East Mediterranean focus
Chevron also now has a large gas position in the East Mediterranean following its acquisition of Noble Energy in 2020.
It operates the producing Leviathan and Tamar fields in Israel and is also operator of the license containing the Aphrodite discovery offshore Cyprus.
The East Mediterranean is seen as a potential key supply source for Europe as it looks to replace Russian gas.
"With Europe wanting to move away from Russian gas, it clearly needs another gas source to fill that gap," Parfitt said.
Gas from Leviathan and Tamar is currently used to supply both the domestic Israeli market and export markets in Egypt and Jordan.
Parfitt said Chevron was looking at several options for monetizing those gas resources in the form of LNG.
The European Commission in June signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel and Egypt on the potential for Israeli gas to be piped to Egypt and then liquefied for supply to Europe.
"Taking Israeli gas through LNG plants that are already built to get your gas to market seems sensible," Parfitt said.
However, he did not exclude the potential for a floating LNG liquefaction option in the East Mediterranean. "Can you do more than one? Can you create a portfolio of options? Nothing is ruled out," he said.
But clearly, he said, converting gas to LNG would be one of the quickest ways for getting East Mediterranean gas to Europe.
Interest in East Mediterranean gas has spiked since the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an option for supply diversification and a way to help bring down prices.
The lack of Russian supply has led to a tight global gas market, Parfitt said. "Fundamentally the market is tight. Demand is ahead of supply," he said.
"The market is also very volatile. It trades on headlines and there is uncertainty on how the market will play in the medium to long term," he said, noting that "the world will need more affordable, reliable, ever cleaner energy in the future as the population grows and people aspire to improve their quality of life."
Parfitt said the current high prices would both dampen demand and send a signal to increase supply, with the market set to rebalance eventually.
But, he said, with LNG the response time is long as it takes time for new projects to reach final investment decision and then be developed.
"I do think the market will balance, but it takes time to create the infrastructure," he said.
Nonetheless, Parfitt said, LNG demand would remain robust in the near future, especially in Europe. "In Europe, demand will kick up in the short to medium term as you have substitution for Russian gas," he said.