(Reuters) - U.S. natural gas pipeline operator Williams Companies has hired two veteran executives to set up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) marketing operation, according to employee profiles and people familiar with the matter.
New LNG production capacity this year will push the United States' processing capacity to 13.9 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), above top LNG exporters Australia and Qatar. U.S. exports of the fuel have soared, hitting 9.77 bcfd in 2021, up from just 4.99 bcfd three years ago, according to U.S. government data.
The LNG marketing operation could put Williams into competition with Cheniere Energy, Shell Plc and QatarEnergy, which market their own production. The company operates 30,000 miles (48,280 km) of gas pipelines and expanded in the past year by acquiring gas acreage from Chesapeake Energy.
"The LNG marketing efforts would be a plus," said Stephen Ellis, analyst at financial services firm Morningstar, "but it would be very difficult to be successful without any actual LNG terminal ownership."
Dan Werner, a 25-year veteran who most recently ran NextDecade's Europe and Americas LNG marketing, was named Williams' managing director of global LNG this month, according to his LinkedIn profile. He previously held senior roles at Golar LNG, BG Group and Sempra Energy, the profile showed.
Daniel Glazner, who was an LNG trader at ConocoPhillips and most recently oversaw LNG and midstream infrastructure projects at Hanwha General Chemical, was hired this month to develop Williams' LNG marketing team, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Williams and Werner did not reply to requests for comment. Glazner declined immediate comment.
"I’ll be working with an amazing group to build and develop a LNG marketing team from well-head to water," Glazner wrote on his profile.
Glazner previously was a director at Toshiba America LNG Corporation, an independent LNG consultant, and senior managing consultant for LNG at Berkeley Research Group.