Clash of the titans: LNG gets geopolitical

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Natural gas has always been a highly political subject, and LNG is no exception. The scale of the investments required means that politicians are immediately interested, while governments directly influence economics by setting the fiscal and regulatory regime.

The trade war between China and the US has put a new geopolitical spin on things. While the US administration vaunts the benefits of ‘freedom LNG’, its precipitating the trade war with China has directly led to China imposing tariffs on US LNG imports. US LNG exports to China, which were building up, abruptly ceased.

Then there is Russia, the US’s other geopolitical rival, towards whom the ‘freedom gas’ rhetoric seems to be directed. Russia is steadily advancing its LNG export projects under the aegis of Novatek, the country’s new LNG champion, with Chinese companies heavily involved in these new Russian schemes both as buyers and investors.

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