Qld juniors want clarity on petroleum royalty rise

LACK of consultation is again dogging industry, this time in Queensland after a surprise petroleum royalty rate hike yesterday of 25% in the state budget, meaning producers will pay 12.5% from July, rather than 10%, equating to an estimated $476 million over four years. 
Qld juniors want clarity on petroleum royalty rise Qld juniors want clarity on petroleum royalty rise Qld juniors want clarity on petroleum royalty rise Qld juniors want clarity on petroleum royalty rise Qld juniors want clarity on petroleum royalty rise

Queensland treasurer and deputy premier Jackie Trad

 
 
Lobby body APPEA, the head of the Queensland Resources Council Ian McFarlane, former Labor Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson and current Federal energy and emissions minister Angus Taylor  have all condemned the unexpected move by treasurer and deputy premier Jackie Trad.  
 
Taylor has called it a cash grab, while the industry representatives all believe it could increase sovereign risk by going after the LNG export industry with little to no warning or prior consultation. 
 
Trad directly linked LNG exporters - who source gas from Queensland's CSG fields - to the tax, suggesting yesterday "ten years ago we were exporting no LNG and now we are one of the top three exporters in the world. 
 
"With record amounts of LNG exports we believe it's time for that industry to do a bit more," she said. 
 
Data from EnergyQuest suggests one third of all of China's LNG imports come from the three Gladstone LNG export concerns in the state. 
 
Coal and gas royalties rose $12 billion last year over 2017 and LNG royalties will offer $2.9 billion over the next four years, state government data shows.  
 
Origin-led Australia Pacific LNG reported record profits last quarter off the back of surging prices but also provided 30% of the east coast's gas for last year, and recently won a Queensland Supreme Court ruling against the government on how its royalties were calculated. 
 
What is not clear to many is how this will affect those working to supply the domestic market, which the Queensland Labor government has spent so much time and effort to prop up. 
 
The government said yesterday it "will also review the design of Queensland's current petroleum royalty regime to ensure greater certainty and equity for all parties and identify opportunities to simplify the current regime, while providing an appropriate return to Queenslanders."
 
It said the review will also help to drive further domestic gas supply, but the smaller end of town remains in the dark. 
 
Blue Energy managing director John Phillips told Energy News this morning it was "disturbing" there had been no consultation and rather "a unilateral decision made". 
 
Blue is not a producer but holds significant acreage in Queensland and the Northern Territory. 
 
"The whole legislative process and the manner it's been undertaken all feeds into the perception of a higher level of sovereign risk," Phillips said. 
 
"What we don't know is whether they apply to domestic gas or just LNG exports, how do they do that, what sort of mechanism." 
 
Armour Energy general manager Access, Infrastructure, Planning & Corporate Affairs Richard Fenton told Energy News it had caught everyone by surprise and it could impact producers' free cash flow as a larger proportion may need to go to royalties under the new scheme.  
 
Armour's primary asset and focus is its Kincora gas plant in Queensland, which is ear marked for the domestic market, he said. 
 
"Yes it impacts companies that have existing production.  So yes it's going to impact our free cash, which we spend on drilling more wells," Fenton said, assuming the rise would hit all producers. 
 
"Let's wait and see what the detail is, we're not criticising it yet, but it is a shock."
"It will impact the consumers as increases in costs are ultimately borne by the consumer." 
 
He also said it would not directly affect pure explorers. 
 
However he was cautious to condemn the government outright, noting the domestic acreage releases of recent years made to drive more gas into the tight east coast market, and to markets south of Queensland that have onshore exploration moratoria and bans in place. 
 
 "I think the Queensland government has done amazing things… the amount of land released and the support we've been given has been excellent in the last couple of years," he said. 
 
"I don't think [it will make it] harder to raise capital in Queensland, it just affects the economics and passes it through to the consumer."