File - A man looks as the world's biggest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Qatari tanker DUHAIL as she crosses through the Suez Canal April 1, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer
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Pipelines are a cheaper way to deliver natural gas than tanker ships.That's one reason countries in North Africa and the Middle East are going full steam ahead on sea transport.The volume of cargoes carrying liquefied natural gas climbed 31 percent in 2014 as Middle East nations increased imports at the fastest pace in four years.Natural gas cost only $2.609 per million British thermal units Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the spot price for LNG to northeast Asia was almost three times as much at $7.38 per million Btu.Morocco, which closed its border with gas-rich Algeria in 1994, is building a $4.6 billion power-plant complex to be supplied with LNG from as far away as Qatar, Russia and the U.S. Amara said last month that "uncertainty" over the future of a pipeline network for Algerian gas exports motivated his country to secure LNG as an alternative.A $7.4 billion project for a pipeline to Pakistan from neighboring Iran, holder of the world's largest gas reserves, has stalled.Most of Iran's current gas exports go by pipeline to Turkey.
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