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RealMadrid1 Post time: 2012-7-23 14:26
Provide some links or evidence please, there has been nothing ofnote in the Australian media or fr ...
SYDNEY: Australia is set to become the world's biggest liquefied natural gas producer, with analysts predicting it will overtake Qatar by 2020 as it unlocks reserves that could last more than a century.
Seven of the world's 10 major LNG projects are under construction Down Under, with A$176bil (US$183bil) of private Australian and foreign investment in gas projects since 2007.
“The projects already under development will take us ahead of Qatar. It's just a case of when that happens,” Wood Mackenzie analyst Chris Graham told AFP.
Analysts expect Australia to pip the small Gulf emirate, which holds the world's third-largest gas reserves and last year saw LNG production capacity rise to 77 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), by 2020.
But the government is hoping it reaches the target sooner, with China's demand for LNG growing by almost one-third last year, while India's import capacity was projected to triple by 2015.
Australia is already the fourth biggest source of LNG in the world, with three export-operational projects Western Australia's North West Shelf and Pluto projects, and Darwin LNG in the Northern Territory.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the second and third largest.
But based on projects that are already committed or under construction, Australia's LNG exports of 18.9 mtpa worth A$11.1bil in 2011 are expected to hit 63 mtpa by 2016-17.
Beyond these, there is a suite of other proposals that if developed could increase output above 100 mtpa, and potentially position Australia as the world's largest LNG exporter by the end of the decade.
“By 2017, based on proposed and committed new projects, Australia's LNG production capacity is projected to quadruple,” Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said.
Australia's abundance of natural resources and proximity to commodities-hungry Asia helped the economy avoid recession during the global financial crisis, thanks to exports of coal and iron ore.
LNG is the newest potential earner from Asia's development, with the vast majority of exports already sold to Japan (69% in 2010) and with sales contracts to supply China and South Korea also in place.
“Australia is a very popular source for East Asian buyers because of low political risk and they are comfortable dealing with operators in this country,” Graham said.
“Sure, it is a high cost environment but resources in Australia are huge and opportunity from a resource perspective is obviously there and it ultimately comes down to competing projects elsewhere in the world.”
Adrian Wood, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, said Australia was likely to overtake Qatar by 2020, but only just, with strong competition from the United States and also potentially parts of Africa.
The Australian government expects LNG exports to expand rapidly as developing countries enjoy economic growth and move away from using coal to gas for electricity generation.
“Natural gas is increasingly the fuel of choice for developing economies because of its versatility and lower carbon emissions compared with other fossil fuels,” Ferguson said. - AFP
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