By Curtis Williams
March 8 (Reuters) - Southeast Asia's future economic growth and commitments to net-zero emissions goals will weigh heavily on the region's access to affordable natural gas, according to preliminary finding in a study to be released in coming weeks.
Paul Everingham, chief executive officer of the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA), said last year's sky high gas prices pose a threat to the region's developing economies, some of which have switched back to coal for cost reasons.
"Unless there is additional gas put into the Asia Pacific, and most likely from North America," said Everingham, "South East Asia will likely remain energy poor and won't achieve its growth or GDP target over the next 30 to 40 years," he added, referring to the ANGEA-sponsored study's initial findings.
North America has the gas reserves and the ability to quickly bring LNG to the market and dampen the price, he said.
China is expected to continue a major importer of LNG as it reduces its investment in overseas coal and increases its regasification and storage capacity. The nation could seek to take equity stakes in LNG production to secure future supply, he said.
Japan will increase its use of nuclear energy to follow its low emissions strategy and increase energy security, but will remain a major importer of LNG, he said.
ANGEA does not see Australia having a lot of room to grow its LNG output, while rising African exports hubs including Mozambique and Angola might require time to expand production.
LNG prices are likely to remain high over the next two years until several new U.S. export terminals that are now or soon to begin construction add to global supplies.
(Reporting by Curtis Williams, editing by Gary McWilliams and David Gregorio)
((Gary.McWilliams@thomsonreuters.com; +1 469-691-7668;))
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