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


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


North Asian LNG prices break records

From LNGWorld: Buyers in all four East Asian markets have competed aggressively to secure winter cargoes, putting pressure on limited flexible supplies and driving prices to monthly records. The ICIS EAX December assessment closed on 15 November at $18.525/MMBtu, having climbed $1.425/MMBtu since it opened as the front-month contract on 16 October. Friday’s close also


US LNG on a charge

From the AFR: Approvals for US liquefied natural gas exports are being granted more quickly than anticipated, reinforcing expectations of a “new dawn” in North American LNG, which could capture a fifth of the global market by the end of the decade, according to RBC Capital Markets’ Toronto-based LNG export Greg Pardy. Speaking in Sydney Mr


Which US LNG hopefuls will get approval?

JPMorgan has a neat note that follows up yesterday’s Freeport LNG approval: …greenfield US export proposals are likely to face greater scrutiny and more challenges than brownfield proposals. The four projects that have received non-FTA licenses are all existing regas operations which we believe provides significant brownfield economics when converting to a liquefaction facility, specifically


More LNG exports approved in the US of A

More American LNG approved for Asia today: The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) said that it has conditionally authorized Freeport LNG Expansion FLNG Liquefaction to export additional volumes of domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States from the Freeport LNG Terminal in Quintana


QLD gas wells falling short of forecasts?

Prepare for cost blowouts in QLD’s burgeoning LNG sector. From The Australian: DOUBTS about the ability of Queensland’s coal seams to produce enough gas to feed Gladstone’s LNG export plants are growing, with claims that many wells are not producing as expected and that more gas could be needed. The concerns, which have been rejected


US DOE pushing forward with LNG approvals

From the US Friday: U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden urged the Energy Department to use updated data that includes regional factors and domestic costs when considering permits for liquefied natural gas export terminals. In a hearing , Chris Smith, the nominee for assistant secretary of Energy for the DOE’s Office


The rapidly diminishing Arrow

More on the rapidly diminishing Arrow LNG project today from The Australian: Shell and PetroChina are understood to have told the Brisbane-based Arrow team that the export LNG project, which is also investigating mergers with under-construction Gladstone projects, is not competing well with other potential investment opportunities. “Staff have been advised that we are still


How much US LNG would break Australia?

The IEA’s World Energy Outlook is a piece of work. Released yesterday it is a treasure trove of LNG data, completely unreported in Australia, of course. The most important part of the document for the country was an analysis of the US’s growing LNG capability.  First, some background: The emergence of North America as an