All aboard new energy wagon

THE emerging coal seam gas (CSG) to liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry has got practically every Australian state scrambling to jump on the gas bandwagon.

From Gladstone in Queensland to Newcastle in New South Wales, the north-west shelf in Western Australia and Darwin and the Kimberleys in the Northern Territory, the move from coal energy to gas energy is moving faster than anyone expected.

What makes things interesting is that new supplies are still being discovered.

The former Soviet Union is anticipated to have huge supplies, up to 10 times as much as the US, especially in Siberia. Major finds have been discovered recently in Indonesia, Mexico, North Africa and elsewhere.

Estimates of worldwide gas reserves range from 120 to 175 years of supply, but some predict that with improved extraction methods, it could be three times longer.

Now coal seam gas player Metgasco is considering developing an LNG plant in Brisbane and a floating LNG plant offshore in NSW.

Matgasco is currently in talks with LNG Ltd (Fisherman’s Landing) to supply gas, and yesterday in a statement Metgasco said that Brisbane may be a more viable and cheaper option than Gladstone.

As competition intensifies in Australia and around the world, concerns are being raised as to the viability of the LNG industry in Gladstone.

Gladstone Economic and Industry Development Board chief executive Dr Ken King said market forces will determine outcomes for Metgasco and others. “The industry has made a huge commitment to Queensland and the Gladstone region evidenced by a high level of investment in current projects,” Dr King said.

“The Gladstone region will continue to be a viable option.”

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