Dubai is looking into developing its capacity to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) with the intention of turning the emirate into a gas trading and transport hub serving the Asian market.

“We have begun to talk about how we might form a gas hub,” said Paul Mason, manager of government-owned Dubai Supply Authority (Dusup), told delegates at the Dubai Global Energy Forum.

“We have the ability to import LNG but not the ability to export, so that might be the logical next step,” he added.

Creating the infrastructure storing and transporting natural gas would be a first step towards establishing a pricing and trading centre for LNG and financial derivatives. Dubai already trades Omani oil on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange, and is seeking to establish its Oman oil futures as a pricing benchmark for the Asian market.

The emirate also boasts an offshore regasification terminal, having converted an LNG tanker. The tanker is moored close to a depleted oil field that serves as underground storage for the reconverted gas.

Dubai traditionally receives gas from neighbouring Abu Dhabi, but can also tap Qatar through the Dolphin gas pipeline. Import capacity currently stands at 3 million tonnes, which can be increased by adapting offshore regasification terminal.