LNG leads Oz major project pipeline: REQ

YESTERDAY’S Resources and Energy Quarterly from the Office of the Chief Economist ran a special feature on major projects and has found LNG will lead mining in upcoming projects with the not-yet-sanctioned Browse development number one in terms of spend. 
LNG leads Oz major project pipeline: REQ LNG leads Oz major project pipeline: REQ LNG leads Oz major project pipeline: REQ LNG leads Oz major project pipeline: REQ LNG leads Oz major project pipeline: REQ

Woodside's Burrup Hub concept

Helen Clark

Editor

 
"There is potential for a modest uptick in resource and energy investment next year, and a further recovery in the early 2020s looks likely. There are over $240 billion of projects at the publicly announced and feasibility stage," it said. 
 
Of this, that investment "depends heavily on the progression of just 12 mega projects (worth $5 billion or more), nine of which are at feasibility stage." 
 
"By far the largest of these is the $36 billion Browse Basin gas project." 
 
The project is as complicated as it is large with operator Woodside Petroleum developing three gas fields owned by multiple parties to send to the North West Shelf joint venture processing facility and Karratha gas plant for processing. 
 
As some parties in onshore facilities do not have stakes in the Browse fields third-party tolling negotiations have been difficult. Final investment decision by Woodside was recently pushed from the second half of next year to the first half of 2021. 
 
It also notes the Surat Basin gas project in Queensland, owned by Arrow Energy, which is a joint venture between Shell and PetroChina. Its $10 billion project was greenlit by state government in February this year but there has been little news since on the proposed 240 petajoule per annum project. 
 
When the government unexpectedly announced a rise on onshore royalties from, 10% to 12.5%, Arrow suggested it could add a total of $1 billion in costs over the 27-year life of the project. 
 
The Arrow project initially targeted FID last year. 
 
It "may now have difficulties achieving its original 2020 target for starting production," the REQ said. 
 
"Australia's largest export commodities — namely LNG/gas, iron ore and coal — account for around $200 billion of the potential $240 billion of projects in the investment pipeline. LNG/gas projects are the largest of these." 
 
It also noted hydrocarbon exploration ended its six-year decline, with spend rising from $1 billion to $1.3 billion in 2018-19, but still far, far below the levels seen earlier this decade. 
 
"Both offshore and onshore petroleum expenditure remain around decade lows, however, there are signs of a recovery."
 
The recovery has been led by Western Australia, and a large chunk of that has been work on the Dorado field in the Bedout Sub-basin by operator Santos (80%) and Carnarvon Petroleum (20%) while other work suggests "producers may be eyeing possible sources of backfill for large-scale LNG projects".
 
It notes major gas projects at the feasibility stage include the Barossa gas project, also operated by Santos, that would send its gas backfill to the Darwin LNG plant and Shell's Crux project, which will send gas to its Prelude floating LNG vessel as backfill. 
The private Western Gas gets a mention for its proposed Equus project which could be either standalone small-scale LNG project or head as backfill to existing infrastructure.  
 
The decrease in value of projects at the completed stage fell from $106 billion to $9 over the year to October 2019 thanks to the removal of the last three remaining LNG mega projects from the completed stage — Ichthys, Prelude and Wheatstone — which together represented $100 billion in investment.
 
These projects are now contributing to Australia's LNG export earnings, as noted elsewhere in the REQ. 
 
The largest project on the completed list is Woodside's Greater Enfield oil project, which is helping drive crude production up from multi-decade lows. 
 
 
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