Australia on Track to be a Top Three LNG Exporter in 10 Years

Australia is on track to be one of the world's top three Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exporters within 10 years, as Australia's export capacity grows to meet strong world demand, Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, said.

Speaking at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) 2007 Conference in Adelaide today, Mr. Macfarlane said Australia was in pole position to meet projected strong future demand from Asia and North America.

"Demand for LNG from the Asia-Pacific rim is forecast to grow strongly as nations look to LNG as a clean energy fuel of the future as well as an important part of their energy security mix," Mr. Macfarlane said.

"With construction on the North West Shelf fifth train well advanced and expansion of the Darwin LNG facility expected in the not too distant future, Australia is on track to be one of the world's top three exporters within the next decade.

"By my calculations, the Pluto, Gorgon, Browse, Ichthys, Pilbara and Darwin Phase 2 LNG projects, which could include gas from the proposed Sunrise Project, have the potential to increase our production to over 60 million tonnes per annum, almost four times current capacity," Mr. Macfarlane said.

Gas would also play a very important role in Australia's domestic energy mix going forward, especially with the potential for lower greenhouse gas emissions through the development of carbon capture and storage technology.

"Given Australia's domestic demand for energy is projected to increase by 50 percent by 2020, I expect natural gas to play a key role in meeting our future energy needs.

"But it's crucial the gas sector remains competitive which means we must continue to transmit the right signals to the market. In that context, there's no place for un-commercial State Government mandated domestic gas reservation policies that impose artificial constraints on export capacity.

"They harm our international reputation and erode industry confidence and can potentially stop LNG projects from going ahead," Mr. Macfarlane said.