Craig McMahon, Wood Mackenzie's Lead Upstream Analyst for Australasia, presented "The outlook for Australian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)" at APPEA 2010 in Brisbane Tuesday, telling the audience that the prospects for Australian LNG are good with production set to grow, potentially by up to five times from existing levels.
"Realizing all of the 15 proposed gas projects in Australia will be a major challenge and some may fall by the wayside. But the fundamentals of Australian gas are strong and we expect to see its global LNG market share grow significantly over the coming decade," McMahon said.
Wood Mackenzie has completed an analysis of how the Australian Government's new proposed Resource Super Profit Tax (RSPT) might affect development of Queensland's emerging coal seam gas (CSG) to LNG business. McMahon offered, "Applying RSPT won't negate the fundamental commercial viability of these projects, but it could impart significant delays and cause companies to reconsider their investment cases."
Three CSG to LNG projects -- Queensland Curtis LNG, GLNG and Australia Pacific LNG --hope to take Final Investment Decision (FID) within the next twelve months, which could collectively contribute an additional 20 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of LNG capacity by 2016. McMahon explained, "We're expecting a combined investment of A$50 billion from these three CSG projects alone. The timing of the RPST announcement and the uncertainty it has created could not have come at a worse time."
McMahon went on to compare the merits of conventional and CSG to LNG projects, "Both development types have their own specific challenges: controlling the high cost of operating offshore remains key for conventional projects, whilst managing ramp-up gas and water production is critical to the success of CSG on a material scale."
Placing Australia in an international perspective McMahon commented, "Whilst there are countries with larger gas reserves, few can compete with Australia's reserves to production ratio of approximately 120 years and its sustained exploration success. Combine this with its advantageous geographical position and low perceived sovereign risk, and it's easy to see why companies have been willing to invest tens of billions of dollars in mega-projects here."