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Australian LNG: Survey and Picks

By Roger S. Conrad on Apr. 12, 2014

Over the past 20 years, Australia has doubled its natural-gas output and emerged as the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). And according to projections from the US Energy Information Administration, Australia will overtake Qatar as the world leader.

Australia’s three operating LNG export facilities boast a total capacity of 1.155 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) per year and accounted for about 21 percent of global shipments.

By the end of 2015, oil and gas companies will start four more facilities that can export 1.925 Tcf per year. And in 2016, four other liquefaction terminals will come onstream, bringing Australia’s total export capacity to 4.26 Tcf–an increase of 370 percent.

The land down under boasts an estimated 103 Tcf in conventional gas reserves, 33 Tcf in coal-bed methane reserves and 437 Tcf in recoverable shale-gas resources. This abundance should be plenty to fuel these new facilities and other proposed projects that would seek to supply China and other Asian nations’ robust demand for natural gas.

Current and incoming projects are largely concentrated off the country’s less-populated northern and western coasts.

The Carnavon Basin, for example, a gas-rich formation in the north of Western Australia supplies about one-third of the country’s domestic demand and the majority of its LNG exports in recent years.

Located about 100 miles off Australia’s northwest coast, the Gorgon project–Australia’s biggest natural resources development yet–will commence commercial operations in the next 12 months.

Lead developer Chevron Corp (NYSE: CVX) has encountered numerous delays and cost overruns in completing the project. But backed by a consortium of deep-pocketed investors, the facility is still on track to come onstream in the first quarter of 2015.

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