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Pressure on gas and LNG prices to help switch from coal, says J.P. Morgan

An LNG tanker is guided by tug boats at the Cheniere Sabine Pass LNG export unit in Cameron Parish, Louisiana

By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) - Global natural gas prices will come under pressure through the end of the decade as supply and shipping infrastructure grow rapidly, particularly in Qatar and the U.S., J.P. Morgan said in a report.

The growth in gas output and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, which allow tankers to transport the fuel around the world, will boost efforts to switch industries from highly polluting coal to gas, which can cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as half, the report said.

The U.S. investment bank forecasts a 2% annual growth in natural gas production by 2030 to 4,600 billion cubic metres (bcm) from 4,000 bcm in 2022, which will lead to an oversupply of 63 bcm by the end of the decade.

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LNG exporting infrastructure is expected to grow by 156 bcm by 2030 from nearly 600 bcm in 2024.

The primary sources of production growth are expected to encompass the U.S., the Middle East and to a lesser extent Russia, the report said.

"We see a downward global LNG price trajectory with increased volatility driven by a structurally oversupplied market," J.P. Morgan Global chief global energy strategist Christyan Malek told Reuters.

The world's leading oil companies including Shell, BP and TotalEnergies are betting on growing demand for gas and LNG as economies grow and switch from coal to natural gas as part of their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The sharp growth in gas supply and the drop in prices could lead to a rapid conversion from coal to gas that could save up to around 17% of global emissions, the report said.

"While the risks of over supply in global LNG towards the end of the decade are well understood, we believe the upside potential of coal to gas switching on LNG demand has been underestimated," Malek said.

The European oil companies' plans to grow gas and LNG output will however have a minimal impact on their plans to reduce carbon emission intensity of their business by 2030, research firm Accela said in a recent report.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by David Gregorio)