Australia is set to apply LNG export controls, aimed at securing domestic supply of gas and keeping prices of the fuel in check, from January 1, the government announced earlier this week despite industry warnings about the decision's potential impact on energy investment.
“The rampant cost inflation on Australian projects combined with the collapse in oil prices is damaging for a lot of these projects,” said Neil Beveridge, analyst at Bernstein. LNG prices have been affected by a supply glut and are also linked to oil prices in Asia.
The three facilities have the combined capacity to supply 25mn mt/yr of LNG –equal to about 8% of the world’s production, Bechtel said October 11.
The slumping oil price has carved a chunk out of Australian oil and gas majors, with Woodside Petroleum reporting that profits halved in the first six months of the year while Santos swung to a loss of more than $1bn.
Australia’s LNG exports rose by 2% last month following a worldwide rise in demand for the product.
Gross Australian LNG production increased by 53.2% in the March quarter to 10.1 MMt with the ramp-up of production from Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) and Golar LNG (GLNG) projects in Queensland and the first cargo from the Gorgon project in Western Australia. The country's LNG exports reached 3.8 MMt during the same period, while Russia's LNG exports totaled 2.5 MMt.
“The decline in prices is unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in production from existing producers because the high fixed costs of building the infrastructure have been paid and marginal production costs are relatively low,” said Ms Heath.
Oil Search Ltd. has moved to consolidate natural-gas developments on Papua New Guinea with a US$2.2 billion deal to buy U.S.-listed midsize energy company InterOil Corp amid a growing natural gas glut.
More than $400 billion of proposed energy projects have been delayed since mid-2014 and pushed into 2017 and beyond as oil prices slid about 60 percent in the past two years, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. The LNG market in particular is facing an oversupply as U.S. exports add to a wave of shipments from Australia.
The first export is a significant milestone for the Gorgon project, which has been hit by delays and a jump in costs since construction started, as it begins generating revenue for Chevron and its partners.