Australian Gas Suppliers Knocking On America's Door

Demand for energy in the United States is anticipated to grow tenfold over the next decade, providing a major export opportunity for the Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

Australian Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, and US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, today conducted a roundtable discussion in Melbourne with Australia's major LNG companies to discuss the potential of Australian gas breaking into the burgeoning American market.

Senior representatives from Australia's gas producing interests made the most of the opportunity to promote Australian LNG as the solution to the United States' looming gas shortfall problems.

"Australia is the world's fifth largest exporter of LNG and we have the reserves to expand that significantly. New capacity now under construction will see our LNG exports double over the next four years," said Mr. Macfarlane.

"Australian suppliers have to date faced a significant barrier in that all four United States LNG import terminals are located on the east coast. But we're hopeful the door is about to swing open to the Australian gas industry," he said.

The United States has identified the need to establish a terminal on their west coast, which would enable Australian companies to compete for the US market.

Australian LNG suppliers and the Government committed at the roundtable to assist the US in its efforts to establish the infrastructure that will enable Australia to supply US gas needs.

"Australia has a proven LNG industry that guarantees reliable, safe and long-term supply, the latest in LNG technology and a sensitive approach to the development of this vital energy industry," Minister Macfarlane said.

The roundtable builds on Australia's attendance at the LNG Ministerial Summit held in Washington DC in December 2003 and the recently signed bilateral energy cooperation understanding between Australia and the United States.