A stochastic optimisation framework for analysing economic returns and risk distribution in the LNG business

Haydn I. Furlonge (LNG and Investment Analysis, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Pt Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago)

International Journal of Energy Sector Management

ISSN: 1750-6220

Publication date: 22 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) business comprises a number of economic activities with inherent risks. The purpose of this paper is to propose an integrated modelling approach, as part of the investment decision‐making process, for optimising economic returns from LNG whilst taking into account uncertainty in various key input parameters.

Design/methodology/approach

Inter‐linked cash flow and pricing models of the LNG chain were constructed. Net present value was maximised based on selection of netback pricing variables and level of investment shareholding. Constraints were placed on the minimum acceptable returns. The risk affinity of the decision maker was captured in the form of a chance‐constrained optimisation problem. A genetic algorithm was applied for numerical optimisation, in combination with Monte Carlo simulations to account for the stochastic nature of the problem.

Findings

Based on the results of a case study, the deterministic solution, having no consideration to uncertainty, was found to be both sub‐optimal and provided an unsatisfactory risk outcome. The stochastic approach yielded an optimal solution with due consideration to risk. Various scenarios show that the choice of the decision variables significantly impacts the trade‐off between risk and returns along the LNG chain to government and investor.

Research limitations/implications

The suitability of the methodology to the operational phase of the LNG business which incorporates different elements of risk, such as market dynamics and logistics, is as yet untested.

Originality/value

This framework may be useful in the formulation of optimal commercial structure of firms, investment portfolio and gas/LNG pricing arrangements for host governments involved in the LNG business.

Keywords

Citation

Furlonge, H. (2011), "A stochastic optimisation framework for analysing economic returns and risk distribution in the LNG business", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 471-493. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506221111186332

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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