Mining & Resources

Strong future for Australia’s LNG industry

7 Feb 2014, by Informa Insights

LNG (1)The importance of CSG training is likely to be emphasised over the next few years, as Australia moves to convert coal seam gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Catherine Tanna, chair of BG Australia, last week (January 30) said the nation is on target to be the world’s biggest exporter of LNG by 2020, which she described as a “remarkable” feat.

“A large part of this growth is coming from Queensland where the world’s first LNG projects to use unconventional gas as feedstock are under construction,” she stated.

“Queensland, which has come from a standing start only five years ago, is expected to account for a third of Australian production by 2020.”

According to Ms Tanna, who was speaking at the Australian American Chamber of Commerce Energy Conference in Texas, this level of output would be the equivalent of 5 per cent of global supply.

Upcoming LNG projects

There are a number of natural gas initiatives currently in the works in Queensland, including BG Group’s Curtis LNG Project. This is expected to export the state’s first cargo of LNG.

Australia Pacific LNG and Gladstone LNG are both expected to begin production next year, with American company ConocoPhillips a partner in the former.

“When BG Group and other international explorers and producers entered Queensland in 2008, the coal seam gas industry was in its infancy,” Ms Tanna said.

“Since then, the industry’s growth has been phenomenal, with a total of $65 billion being invested in Queensland.”

This could lead to a surge in participation on CSG courses as businesses strive to improve their competitiveness in this growing area of the oil and gas industry.

Potential in Queensland

Upcoming projects in Queensland could be just the tip of the iceberg for the state.

Ms Tanna highlighted the fact that Queensland’s gas basins are bigger than the US state of Texas and its three LNG initiatives are already set to supply gas to Asian cities with a total population of 80 million for two decades.

“In this age of climate change – and while renewable energy options do not yet have the characteristics or scale to meet rising energy demand – natural gas, with its relatively low emissions, will remain an important part of the world’s energy mix,” she argued.

Within 20 years, the Queensland natural gas industry will increase the state’s real gross domestic product by approximately $25 billion a year, as well as providing 20,000 long-term jobs.

A further $275 billion can be generated through resource-based royalties and taxes.

International investment

The US is already investing heavily in the Australian LNG sector, including joint ventures between some of the two countries’ biggest firms. These include Bechtel offering procurement, construction and engineering services to all three Queensland LNG projects.

BG Group has also awarded GE a $620 million contract for maintenance at the Curtis LNG scheme. The money will go towards supporting the group’s carbon-efficient turbines and other plant equipment.

“Enterprising businesses will continue to have many opportunities to get involved as the industry seeks a deeper service industry and streamlines its operations,” Ms Tanna said.

csg_overview_and_understanding_reserves_P14GR20WEBPDF-1“We will require everything from maintenance and catering to engineering design, construction and enhanced information and control systems. As ever, we will continue to have an acute focus on safety.”

These opportunities may come as good news for companies operating within the resources industry, following news last month that the Gordon LNG project in Western Australia suffered a cost blowout.

The plant was expected to cost $37.5 billion in 2009, but this increased to $52 billion last year and was again lifted to $54 billion in recent weeks.

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