'Turning point': LNG investor takes first profit
KOREAN gas giant KOGAS recorded a $US24 million ($A31 million) profit last year from its investment in the Santos GLNG plant.
It was the first time the Curtis Island LNG plant had generated a return for the state-owned company, which purchased a 15% stake in the project in 2010.
KOGAS announced the profit late last month, and said it expected to take in more than $US100 million this year on the back of increased production and rebounding crude oil prices.
Graeme Bethune, chief executive of energy advisory firm EnergyQuest, said the plant's profitability was a "turning point" for Gladstone's gas industry.
"With the (earlier) fall in oil prices, one of the big concerns was that these projects weren't profitable," he told The Observer.
"To have international investors reporting a profit will obviously improve confidence in the industry... it's good to see they're getting a return.
"The story of these LNG projects so far has been the developers shovelling in huge amounts and not getting much back."
The announcement came just over a month after KOGAS Australia director Insu Woo told an Australia-Korea Business Council conference the Federal Government's plans to create a domestic gas reserve would damage Australia's reputation with potential investors.
Curtis Island LNG export values reached record highs in November.
Mr Woo said Australia was a "very strong and stable country" but a reserve would create concerns for companies looking for opportunities in Australia's LNG industry.
Santos, which owns 30 per cent of the GLNG plant, last month announced it had signed an agreement to deliver 15 petajoules of gas (about 2 per cent of 2018's projected domestic demand) into the domestic market to ease the government's concerns.