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14/1/2019 — Oil and Gas
Gas boom grows in West

New Zealand faces having to import most if not all its gas requirements within seven to 10 years through the negative approach of the Ardern Government to new exploration, while Australia continues to boom and is a key supplier to global as well as domestic markets.

The December report by Australian market analyst Energy Quest shows that in 2018 Australia’s LNG exports reached 69.5 million tonnes, up 23% on the previous year.

The revenue derived from LNG exports for the year soared 67.8% to $A43.3 billion ($NZ45.74 B).

Energy Quest’s principal Graeme Bethune said Australian LNG shipments were steady at 6.6 Mt in December, with the North West Shelf of Western Australia being the largest producer.

LNG exports had now grown to Australia’s largest export earner, behind iron ore and coal.

One of the companies focussing greater attention in that region is Wellington-based New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd (NZX: NZO) which acquired equity in the Ironbark prospect from its controlled entity Cue Energy Resources Ltd (ASX: CUE).

Bethune said while the West Coast performed well, the gas and LNG production operations on Australia’s East Coast were static.

Australia continues to be the largest LNG supplier to China, supplying 46% of Chinese LNG imports in November. Australian projects delivered 34 cargoes to China in December, down from 39 in November and similar to 32 in October.

As a global supplier Australia regained second place in the Korean market in November behind Qatar, with the US pushed into fourth place after Malaysia.

EnergyQuest said Queensland’s three coal seam gas-to-LNG projects were a global first and, three years after commissioning, and remain the only LNG projects anywhere in the world backed by CSG.

Quality of the projects’ CSG reserves underpins a total of more than $A60 B in investment and is crucial in fulfilling export gas sales commitments.

Queensland CSG producers are also under increasing pressure to supply more gas to the domestic market to compensate for a lack of gas development in southern States and the substantial drop in forecast production from Bass Strait.

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EnergyQuest’s Graeme Bethune.