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


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


LNG prices boom

From LNGWorldNews: Prices of LNG for March delivery to Asia gained 3.2% from February, averaging a record high $19.419 per million British thermal units, as limited availability and competitive buying pressures supported prices, the latest Platts Japan/Korea Marker (JKM) for month-ahead delivery showed. The monthly average Platts JKM for delivery in March 2014 was assessed


AFR: Greenies killed Alcoa

The AFR’s Ben Potter has an awful take on the departure of Alcoa today: Maybe now gas crunch deniers like the NSW Greens and the conservative governments of NSW and Victoria will get the message: Costly energy drives out industry, manufacturing, and high paying jobs. In the scheme of things Point Henry didn’t stand a


US approves another LNG competitor

As expected, Cameron LNG has now been approved by the US Department of Energy: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a conditional authorization that allows Sempra Energy subsidiary Cameron LNG to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas from its proposed liquefaction facilities in Hackberry, La., to countries that do not have a free trade


Trouble in Panama a boon for Australian LNG?

A couple of stories today for LNG followers. First, the US House released a new study demanding that the Department of Energy lift restrictions on every LNG export project in the country: The rapid growth in American natural gas production offers a variety of opportunities, including the chance for America to become a natural gas


Canada’s LNG boom

Something a bit different today for the LNG interested. A few details on Canada’s developing LNG boom, from the Financial Post: Canada is set to become one of the major players since it has 10 proposed LNG projects representing about 155 million metric tonnes of potential annual supply at various stages in the approval process,


Australian LNG catches two breaks

A couple of stories today breaks the gloom for Australian LNG. The first is simple enough. A falling dollar is helping some project metrics: THE falling dollar has eased the pressure on foreign investors building massive projects in Australia, leading to the possibility that Chevron’s $US29 billion ($33bn) Wheatstone project in Western Australia could deliver


Japan mulls calamitous LNG price cap

From the AFR today: The prospect of a price ceiling for liquefied natural gas being set in Japan has compounded worries about mounting pressure on high-cost suppliers such as Australia. It has also put a cloud over expectations of price increases for existing deliveries from producers such as Woodside Petroleum. A move being considered by Japan’s


Rising gas prices threaten Australian manufacturers

By Leith van Onselen The benefits to the Australian manufacturing sector from the falling Australian dollar look set to be offset by rising domestic gas prices, as major east coast LNG export terminals come on line from 2016. According to today’s AFR, domestic gas prices could rise to $12 per gigajoule from around $3.50 to


Is US LNG in trouble?

The AFR has a home ground interpretation of US LNG issues today (via Foreign Policy): The biggest construction project in the world is on the rocks. That could have big negative implications for the United States as it tries to turn its natural-gas bonanza into an engine of export earnings and geo­political influence. The project is


Arrow pops the LNG bubble

Lots of bland hand-wringing today over the long understood end of the LNG boom represented in the decline of Arrow Energy. The AFR has a pipeline of pieces on the subject but the only point of interest is this: Some sources point to frustration within the government that Arrow has not more actively pursued consolidation


Shell dumps Wheatstone, cuts Arrow

Shell is doing the bolt from marginal Australian LNG. The AFR: Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co has struck a deal to buy Royal Dutch Shell out of Chevron’s Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia for $US1.135 billion in what could be the first of a string of asset divestments by the oil major


Canada ramps-up LNG export plans

By Leith van Onselen From the AFR this afternoon comes news that Canada is ramping-up its LNG export plans, securing an agreement with Woodside Petroleum to develop an LNG gas export facility Prince Rupert on the Pacific coast – one of ten proposed facilities for exporting gas to Asia that would compete against Australian LNG:


Woodside shows huge bill for onshore Browse

From The Australian: In a sign that Woodside is becoming increasingly frustrated with suggestions it should have built an onshore plant rather than pursue a controversial floating LNG plan, the Perth-based company said yesterday that James Price Point was uneconomic and pursuing it could have placed the group at risk of collapse. “We invested about


IEA sees a lot of US gas exports

The IEA has released its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook and it sees a lot of US gas: The Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Reference case released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presents updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2040. “EIA’s updated Reference case shows that advanced technologies for crude oil and natural gas


Gorgon meets the magic pudding

Not unexpected news today from Chevron which has announced that its monstrous Gorgon LNG project is another $2 billion over budget and will now cost $54 billion. It was originally budgeted at $37 billion. It also pushed back  its first gas timetable to mid 2015 from late 2014. This is one reason why we’re seeing


The drift from Australian LNG goes on

BHP yesterday confirmed that the drift away from Australian LNG goes on: He said greenfield liquefied natural gas projects remained “economically challenged” and signalled BHP was in no rush to move forward with the ­Scarborough LNG venture with ExxonMobil off WA. While floating LNG is the leading option for Scarborough, Mr Cutt said BHP wanted further study of


Woodside plays possum on Browse contracts

In what is shaping up as a fascinating test case for Japanese gumption: WOODSIDE Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman says he expects critical pricing talks with Japanese LNG buyers to be finalised by April next year amid a joint effort by Asian customers to drive down prices under new long-term contracts. He said Woodside was


LNG buyers mull alliance

From Reuters today: An uncomfortable prospect for global exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will unfold in India this week — buyers from countries that import 70 percent of the world’s LNG will meet to discuss how to get a better deal. …The meetings may herald the early stages of an Asian buyers’ club for