Australia's natural gas to boom on Asia's LNG market

Asia's demand for natural gas may be insatiable and a case existed for the construction of at least a few more multi-billion dollar gas-export projects in Australia, says global consulting firm Bain & Co.

Amid a slowing down of China's economy, increasing cost pressures, and the potential emergence of competing natural gas supplies from North America and East Africa there had been concerns that Australia's liquefied natural gas, or LNG, sector was much too crowded.

Several projects, with a combined costing of over $175 billion are under construction along Australia's eastern and northern coastline, and had locked in long-term supply contracts with LNG buyers including the huge Chevron Corp-led Gorgon and Wheatstone developments in the state of Western Australia.

According to John McCreery, head of Bain's Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Practice who spoke to Deal Journal Australia, there was enough demand in Asia for all Australian projects. He said even projects still on the drawing board were further ahead than potential East African rivals he said.

With around 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas already discovered in East Africa, the region was being talked about by experts as the next major liquefied natural gas export hub. According to global resources consulting firm Wood Mackenzie there was enough gas in Mozambique and Tanzania to support 16 LNG processing units, known as trains.

Based in Singapore, McCreery is currently in Perth advising project developers struggling with higher costs and mounting logistical and operational challenges.