Cheap gas fuels emerging markets' new-found appetite for LNG
* New technology improves access to LNG
* Colombia, Abu Dhabi next in line to import
* Path to becoming importer not smooth, delays loom
By Oleg Vukmanovic and Sarah McFarlane
MILAN/LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - Cheap gas is tempting out new importers in Africa and South America, helping stave off a deeper price rout hurting producers' bottom lines.
A near 80 percent drop in spot liquefied natural gas (LNG)prices since February 2014 comes as Asian demand falls and competing new supply from the United States and Australia attracts poorer countries for long shut out of the gas trade.
Around 400 million tonnes, or a third more of the fuel, will be produced annually by 2020, according to industry estimates. That opens doors to overlooked regions considered too risky when Asia markets offered the best growth opportunity.
Cheaper than fuel oil and cleaner-burning than coal, LNG suits emerging economies racing to bridge electricity shortfalls and support growth on tight budgets.
New technologies such as floating LNG import terminals have also shaved years off the time needed for new customers to access supply. Continuación...