Australian LNG

Australian LNG has a long history of pioneering investment. From the North West shelf to the first floating LNG project ever constructed.

Like other Australian commodities this history aligns with that of development economics of Asia. The first wave of Australian LNG development grew to service a modernising Japan and its demand for energy.  This bilateral relationship has a long history of cordial relations, share-equity investment and oil-linked contract pricing to satisfy both parties.

The second wave of Australian LNG was far more chaotic, matching the staggeringly swift rise of the much larger Chinese economy. It began along with the pre-GFC oil boom and Malthusian assumption that the world was going to fall short of everything as the enormous Chinese and then Indian middle classes ballooned and consumed more energy per capita.

Multitudinous LNG projects were sanctioned in Australia which found itself by 2010 developing no fewer than seven LNG project simultaneously. Needless to say this did not end well with gigantic cost blowouts for all as they competed for labour and other resources.

Yet, as the commodity super cycle peaked in 2011, demand suddenly fell well short of expectations and kept doing so over the next four years. Making matters worse, the US shale revolution suddenly turned that nation from net LNG importer to net exporter of a magnitude equal to Australian LNG. The global glut from 2015 was enormous.

The Australian LNG boom included a particularly cavalier offshoot in QLD where coal seam gas was liquefied via three projects on Curtis Island. As the boom subsided, and oil-linked prices crashed, the companies involved were all either sold or destroyed.

The legacy left by the projects was one of very high Australian gas prices with very low Asian gas prices, also delivering an huge blow to the competitiveness of the east coast economy. Thus the $200bn investment proved to be the greatest single capital mis-allocation in the history of the Australian economy (and surely global energy markets) and was little more than a monument to Banana Republic economics as tax takes failed, income fell and hollowing out transpired on raised local costs.

MacroBusiness was the only analytic house to call the Australian LNG bubble early, track it and predict its demise. It continues to cover the LNG sector with daily updates and a large grain skepticism and is a must read for anyone that needs to know the economic forces coming to bear on the sector.

Also check – Daily Iron Ore Price, Australian Dollar


Lego Prelude

Following yesterday’s Prelude video, today we get Prelude lego: Apparently it took two people one month to build. Given how much high labour costs are hurting, they missed a trick when they didn’t offer the gig to my  five year old boy…


Gas reservation junked as “ideological claptrap”

From Business Spectator, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has junked proposals for domestic gas reservation arguing that: “There is no good reason for reservation policy. It is ideological claptrap,” Mr Macfarlane told reporters on the sidelines of the APPEA conference in Perth. “You haven’t got the gas in NSW to reserve and in Western Australia, if


Australian LNG in the pricing gun

The AFR has an interesting piece on the ongoing conflict between LNG buyers and sellers over pricing regimes: The head of Japan’s quasi-national oil company Inpex Corporation fears a “lose-lose” result in the global liquefied natural gas market unless producers and suppliers resolve their differences over supply, demand, and pricing. Toshiaki Kitamura will tell the


LNG junket’s deliver the gas

Ah yes, the junket, an age-old way to get positive coverage of your issues in the media. Today we have masterful execution of such from the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) with it’s finger prints all over Fairfax’s LNG coverage. First it’s Jennifer Hewitt: For a man responsible for more than $80 billion worth of


Canada approves huge LNG charge

From Platts today, Canada has approved four huge LNG export terminals all on its West coast: The four facilities–Pacific Northwest LNG, Prince Rupert LNG, WCC LNG and Woodfibre LNG–were previously approved by Canada’s National Energy Board in December 2013. The licenses cover the export of up to 73.38 million mt/year of LNG, or about 3.43 Tcf/year.


Farmers win reprieve on coal seam gas

By Leith van Onselen Last year’s 60 Minutes investigation into coal seam gas (CSG) provided an eye-opening account of Australian farmers being forced to allow CSG mining on their land against their will. Today, The Australian reports that Santos and AGL Energy will pledge to the New South Wales Government that they will not enter


NSW puts the clamp on coal seam gas

By Leith van Onselen In a move that is certain to infuriate the oil and gas lobby, the New South Wales Government has announced that it will freeze coal seam gas (CGS) exploration applications for six months, review existing licences, and significantly increase licencing fees. From The Guardian: The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, accused the former


US debates total LNG export freedom

From LNGWorldNews: U.S. Subcommittee on Energy and Power examined H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. The bill will accelerate approvals of U.S. LNG exports to American allies. The legislation facilitates automatic approvals of all export applications that have been noticed in the Federal Register and modifies the process moving forward so that


US approves another LNG export competitor

And on it rolls: Veresen said that it has received a conditional order from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export liquefied natural gas from the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal to those countries that do not have Free Trade Agreement (FTA) status with the United States. Under the DOE order, Jordan Cove


Korea mounts assault on LNG contracts

Australia’s North Asian customers seem quite comfortable with the idea that LNG contracts need to be broken. From LNGWorldNews: Changes in the pricing structure of natural gas and LNG are needed if Asia is to take full advantage of the “golden age of gas,” senior Korean officials told the Gastech 2014 VIP programme that was


US schedules LNG export liberalisation hearing

From LNGWorldNews: The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), has scheduled a hearing for March 25 to review H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. In response to Russia’s recent aggression and DOE’s slow export approval process, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced H.R. 6 to expedite exports of


IEA: Nobody will invest in Australian LNG

From the AFR: US natural gas prices could rise by more than half and LNG exports would still match up economically against supplies from traditional shippers to Japan such as Australia, according to the International Energy Agency’s head of global gas markets research. Speaking in Sydney on Thursday, Anne-Sophie Corbeau, senior gas analyst at the Paris-based


Oil and gas lobby sprays the black stuff

By Leith van Onselen The “voice of Australia’s oil and gas industry”, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), has issued a media release slamming The Australian Institute’s (TAI) release yesterday of a report entitled “Fracking the future”, which attempts to bust gas industry myths about coal seam gas (CSG), while at the same


Coal seam gas benefits exagerated

By Leith van Onselen Early last year, I wrote an article, “Fracking the countryside”, questioning the merits of extracting natural gas trapped in shale rocks or coal seams via the process of hydraulic fracking. This process essentially involves drilling and inserting a pipe deep into the ground and then pumping millions of litres of high


QLD LNG short of supply until 2015

From Citi today: Given upstream delays, CSM-LNG looks short gas — We have built well-by-well models to define likely gas production for the GLNG, APLNG and QCLNG projects. Given delays in upstream facilities of 3-6 months for all projects, we think the industry will be short gas for 12 months from 4Q15, when all 6


Still no solution for rising gas prices

By Leith van Onselen Another article appeared in the Weekend AFR arguing that New South Wales faces big job losses if gas prices are allowed to rise on the back of LNG exports from Queensland: …western Sydney will bear the brunt of expected shortages in natural gas in NSW that are predicted in just over two


Gorgon delayed again

It’s not just the Chinese that have stuffed up their northern WA investments. From the AFR, Gorgon appears set for more delay: Shell – which has a 25 per cent stake in the massive venture, Australia’s largest single resources investment – classified Gorgon in a presentation released overnight as a project starting up in “2016-2018.”


Gorgon markets fourth train

From the AFR: Chevron has revealed it is marketing gas to underpin an expansion of its $US54 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia but has refrained from committing to a timetable to adding to the massive venture, which has suffered repeated cost blowouts and delays. “As with other LNG projects around the


Food industry warns on rising gas prices

By Leith van Onselen The industry group representing food and grocery manufacturers has reportedly warned of the possible loss of profits and jobs as escalating gas prices, brought about by the completion of large scale east coast LNG projects, drives-up manufacturing costs. From The Australian: The Australian Food and Grocery Council has told the federal


US ambassador sees LNG competition

For those with a memory, it was the positive findings of a study by the macro consultancy NERA for the US Department of Energy that opened the way for the US entry into global LNG markets. That study has been updated: This report is an update to the study of the macroeconomic impacts of liquefied natural


Ukraine to open US gas pipe to the world?

The AFR’s John Kehoe, who has some talent, has a good take on the Ukraine’s impact on LNG: The political and security crisis in the Ukraine is ramping up momentum for the United States to lift its ban on gas exports, a policy change that would shake up global energy markets. Natural-gas rich Russia supplies


Global LNG boom and bust?

From Businessweek: With plans for dozens of the multibillion-dollar export terminals in North America alone, the industry is headed toward an overbuild that may depress Asian prices for a decade, according to a Rice University analysis. Capacity from proposed North American LNG terminals is more than triple the forecast growth in Asian gas demand by


Kogas deal underlines LNG deadlines

The kiddies at the AFR reckon Woodside deal to sign up Kogas as a client for Pluto gas is a Bobby Dazzler: Woodside Petroleum has signed up the world’s biggest buyer of liquefied natural gas, Korea Gas Corporation, as a customer for its $15 billion Pluto project in Western Australia, at what is expected to


US declares LNG price war as spin goes nuclear

From The Australian: The former associate deputy secretary of the US Department of Energy, Randa Fahmy Hudome, has warned: “We are looking carefully at Australia’s ongoing LNG projects — are they too big, cost prohibitive? And what kind of policies will your government implement? Will they help, or will they hinder your production?” she said.


Pushing back the gas con

By Leith van Onselen Ross Gittins has written a solid piece today arguing that the Australia’s government’s are misleading the people on the true reasons behind gas price rises in a bid to force through controversial coal seam gas (CSG) projects: For an example of state politicians willing to blatantly mislead their electorates, look no


Japan adds nuclear pain to Australian LNG

From the FT: The government of Shinzo Abe is poised to declare its long-term commitment to nuclear energy, reversing the previous administration’s decision to shut all of Japan’s atomic plower plants after the Fukushima disaster. More than a year after Mr Abe took office vaguely promising to “rethink” Japan’s post-Fukushima repudiation of nuclear power, the draft of


Australia’s gas policy failure

Following Andrew Liveras, managing director of Dow Chemicals Craig Arnold has written a stinging critique of Australian gas policy, which he claims has caused a shortage and driven-up gas prices for households and industry. From The Australian: AUSTRALIA’S wealth of natural gas is reserved for export. The result is steeply rising prices for household gas and