More progress for Aus LNG industry

Liquefied natural gas suppliers in Australia will have been encouraged by the words of federal resources minister Gary Gray at the 17th International Conference on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG17) in Houston, Texas on April 17.

Mr Gray recently highlighted the strengths of Australia's LNG industry asserting that Australia is most definitely a significant global player.

At the LNG17 he took these comments a step further, predicting that Australia will be the biggest LNG exporter in the world within the next five years.

Australia is home to seven of the world's twelve current LNG projects, which Mr Gray expects will provide 90 million tonnes of LNG by 2018.

The surge in production is in line with growing global demand as the International Energy Agency has predicted a 50 per cent rise in gas demand by 2035.

This proliferating supply and demand cycle makes LNG the world's fastest growing energy source, with the likelihood of approaching demand for coal in the coming years.

"The agency also notes that the global gas trade balance is shifting to the Asia-Pacific region, with more than two thirds of LNG production now directed into these markets," said Mr Gray.

"This is largely a story of economic growth as developing countries become developed countries. Emerging economies are set to account for 80 per cent of increased global gas demand over the next 20 years."

Mr Gray noted that Asia-Pacific LNG imports are set to increase at an average rate of seven per cent a year, reaching 272 million tonnes a year by 2018.

China will be responsible for a sizeable portion of this increase, on track to becoming one of the world's largest LNG importers.

While Mr Gray has previously identified some challenges the LNG industry will face, such as rising costs and capacity constraints, the gas industry is sure to rally against any obstacles due to the sector's significant value.

Areas which Australia already exports LNG from include the North West Shelf, Darwin LNG and Pluto - soon to be joined by the Gorgon LNG project - one of the world's largest LNG undertakings, set to provide 15 million tonnes of LNG annually.

A number of other LNG initiatives are in the pipeline, and fittingly the world's nest LNG conference is to be located in Perth in 2016.

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Posted by Callum Fleming