The shine is coming off once bright prospects for natural gas as the future fossil fuel of choice in Asia as power companies in India and Southeast Asia tap abundant and cheap domestic coal resources to generate electricity.
Asian loyalty to coal is shrinking the space available for natural gas just as supplies are ramping up after massive investments in U.S. and Australian output. Demand growth for natural gas is also slowing in top energy consumer China, further dampening the fuel's prospects.
While much attention has been given to a potential peak in China's coal demand and worries about emissions, in Asia alone this year power companies are building more than 500 coal-fired plants, with at least a thousand more on planning boards. Coal is not only cheaper than natural gas, it is often available locally and has no heavy import costs.