Australia is on course to overtake Qatar as the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by the end of the decade, supplying one-fifth of global LNG supply by 2020, Western Australia's Minister for Finance; Commerce; Small Business Simon O'Brien said Thursday.
O'Brien was speaking at the inaugural Australian Gas Technology Conference & Exhibition at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre.
Australia is currently the world's fourth largest exporter of LNG and the country accounts for 9-percent of global LNG output.
In his speech, O'Brien disclosed that there are at present $98 billion worth of LNG projects under construction or planning in Western Australia and a further $77 billion worth of LNG projects under construction.
O'Brien also touched on specific project developments during his speech.
"In recent months, we have welcomed Chevron's decision to proceed with the Wheatstone Project. We are awaiting investment outcomes for Woodside's Browse development and the expansion to a fourth train of the Gorgon operation," O'Brien said.
The Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project is sited 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) west of Onslow in Western Australia. The foundation phase of the project consists of two LNG trains with a combined capacity of 8.9 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) and a domestic gas plant. The project's scheduled start date is 2016.
The Browse LNG Development, operated by Woodside, is a project conceived to commercialize the Browse joint venture's three gas and condensate fields - Brecknock (discovered 1979), Calliance (discovered 2000) and Torosa (discovered 1971) - located 264 miles (425 kilometers) north of Broome, off the remote Kimberley coast. Gas and liquids from these offshore fields will be brought to an onshore LNG plant at the Western Australian government's Browse LNG Precinct, near James Price Point, 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of Broome. The three fields contain contingent resources of 15.5 trillion cubic feet of dry gas and 417 million barrels of oil. The Browse LNG Development is awaiting the green light from Western Australia's state government and the federal government.
The Chevron-operated Gorgon project is the face of the wider Greater Gorgon Gas Fields - a lucrative area made up of the Carnarvon Basin’s Gorgon, Chandon, Geryon, Orthrus, Maenad, Eurytion, Urania, Chrysaor, Dionysus, Jansz-lo, and West Tryal Rocks gas fields. The project is slated for start-up in 2014 with three 5 million mtpa LNG compression trains.
Commenting on gas technology and innovation developments, O'Brien expressed his excitement about Western Australia's role in being home to the world's first floating LNG project.
"Shell Development Australia will use a specifically designed ship – the largest floating structure ever built – with LNG production facilities to develop its Prelude gas field off the north coast of Western Australia," O'Brien said.
Shell's Prelude Floating LNG (FLNG) project - scheduled for start-up in 2017 - will produce at least 5.3 million tons per annum of liquids (3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate and 0.4 mtpa of LPG). It will also be the largest floating offshore facility in the world, displacing some 600,000 tons and measuring more than 1,600 feet long and 240 feet wide.
The growth of Australia's LNG industry also means an increase in opportunities for innovative and market-oriented businesses in Western Australia, O'Brien said.
O'Brien used three local businesses, EPM, AME Offshore Solutions and Green Monster Offshore, as examples to illustrate his point.
EPM, a local engineering company manufacturing spare and replacement parts for the chemical, gas supply, mining, subsea industrial and agricultural sectors, invested $6 million in an expansion to keep up with demand for its products and services.
In the case of AEM Offshore Solutions and Green Monster Offshore, the two companies jointly opened a $3 million purpose-built facility to enhance their service offerings. AEM Offshore Solutions is a services and engineering company specializing in the offshore industry, while Green Monster Offshore is a rental equipment company providing specialized equipment to the offshore, resources and construction industries.
"There are also many other success stories of local businesses winning major resources contracts, performing beyond expectations and growing their operations. These are not just successes for the local industry. The State and the Western Australian community are also benefiting," O'Brien said.
O'Brien concluded his speech by reaffirming to the audience that the future is looking bright for Western Australia and that the LNG industry is playing a key role in its success.
"I look forward with great anticipation to see Western Australia put its stamp as one of the global powerhouses of LNG," O'Brien said.
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