The Future of Long-term LNG Contracts


Long-term contracts between exporters and importers of LNG increase the debt capacity of large, long-lived, capital investments by reducing cash flow variability. However, long-term contracts also may limit the ability of the contracting parties to take advantage of profitable ephemeral trading opportunities. After developing a model that illustrates these trade-offs, we argue that increased LNG market liquidity is likely to encourage much greater volume and destination flexibility in contracts and increased reliance on short-term and spot market trades. These changes would, in turn, reinforce the initial increase in market liquidity.