The Business Times

How Panama Canal work may snarl America's LNG exports

Published Mon, Jan 6, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[WASHINGTON] The biggest construction project in the world is on the rocks. And that could have big negative implications for the United States as it tries to turn its natural gas bonanza into an engine of export earnings and geopolitical influence.

The project is the expansion of the Panama Canal to allow more and bigger ships to pass through - for instance, the large tankers that carry liquefied natural gas (LNG). Today, only about 6 per cent of the global LNG tanker fleet can pass through the canal; after the expansion, about 90 per cent of tankers will be able to use it, according to a US government study.

The bigger canal would provide a quicker and cheaper way to ship natural gas from the US Gulf Coast and East Coast to markets in Asia that are desperate to secure supplies of natural gas.

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