Watson: US Should Move Forward with LNG, Crude Exports

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Chevron CEO John Watson says US should move forward with exporting oil and LNG, noting that debate on free trade benefits won "long ago".

Chevron Corp. Chairman and CEO John Watson said the United States should get on with exporting oil and liquefied natural gas, saying that U.S. consumers and allies of the United States would benefit.

“The debate over the benefits of free trade was won a long time ago,” Watson told attendees at the IHS CERAWeek conference Tuesday in Houston, noting the role that free trade has played in facilitating economic growth. The benefits of export and free trade pose a “very straightforward, economic argument for consumers and the nation,” Watson commented.

While the controversy over exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States has subsided from a year ago, the timing of U.S. and Canadian LNG export projects moving forward remains to be seen. Watson expects to see significant growth of LNG projects from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Canada’s West Coast.

“There’s no question that sufficient gas exists in the U.S. and Canada to export globally,” Watson said, noting that he sees a good market ahead for LNG demand past the 2020 to 2025 timeframe.

Watson sees the resources and desire by the Canadian government to move LNG projects forward. Watson also sees brownfield LNG export facilities moving forward quickly, but full-site development of greenfield LNG projects will be more expensive. While Watson sees demand for these projects and other opportunities around the world, robust pricing will be needed for projects to work.

“We need a meeting of minds for LNG project development,” Watson commented.

Hiring and retaining talent will pose an issue as a generation of workers who cut their teeth in the 1970s and 1980s retire and the industry accelerates training and development to cope with the talent shortfall. Watson sees the demand for jobs in the industry as a “wonderful chance” for the United States, where people are still in need of jobs.


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