Australia has a long history as a mineral rich country. From gold to coal, the backbone of Australia’s economy has traditionally been in minerals. Like other nations with strong conventional energy deposits, the Australian economy too is increasingly feeling the pressures of rising production costs and environmental advocacy groups. Not unlike the United States, however, Australia recently discovered a silver lining to their potentially difficult energy future. The recently discovered natural gas deposits have the potential to trigger not only a new energy boom Down Under but also to inject new life blood in the energy industry that might lead to sustainable growth for decades to come. The shale gas reserves in Australia discovered so far are conveniently occurring in the vicinity of the traditionally utilized coal deposits allowing E+P companies to utilize existing infrastructure for upstream operations.
While existing infrastructure might be useful to aid the initial extraction and transportation of natural gas resources, heavy investments will nonetheless be required to ensure effective refinement of the product. Considering the growth of demand for a cleaner burning, more environmentally friend fuel and the economic stimulus potential of natural gas, it is, however, reasonable to assume that a significant infrastructural commitment will be made by both governmental agencies and local and foreign investors. Conservative estimates assume that at least $1.5 billion for an LNG plant (per 1 mmtpa capacity); $1 billion for a receiving terminal (per 1 bcf/day throughput capacity) as well as $200-$300 million for an LNG transportation vessel would have to be committed by investors. The question in Australia surely is not when those investments will be made but where and at what rate. From the perspectives of both the Australian government and economy as well as the potential of the foreign investor, it is about finding the right potential capital for the right location in order to maximize efficiency and effective use of investment capital.
While the infrastructural investments mentioned above are standard expenditures for the establishment of a large scale LNG operation, recent cases in Queensland and New South Wales exemplified other potential problems investors might face while getting the Australian gas industry off the ground. These cases of increasing regulatory burden concern the protection of prime agricultural land from contamination, stating that specific LNG development proposals within 1.2 miles of agricultural land need to be decided upon by a non-partisan panel before even applying to develop the location. Different branches of government and and different trade sectors can, of course, have differing regulations which must all be followed, creating a bureaucratic nightmare for even the most diligent investor. Nonetheless, as the search for more environmentally friendly energy sources continues, it is obvious that liquefied natural gas, by being safe, affordable, and cleaner than coal or oil, will continue to be a growing player in the global energy industry. In parallel, the Australian energy boom appears to be sustainable and growing and will contribute to the overall shift in the energy market; moreover, this boom has the potential to be a highly lucrative investment for the right company.
If your company is planning to begin E&P operations in Australia or is managing LNG sites Down Under, we can help you optimize your processes by providing process-oriented language solutions specifically for the oil and gas industry. You can leverage one of the world’s largest in-house teams of industry specialist translators and proofreaders to translate your geological surveys, environmental impact assessments, land acquisition contracts, and well performance analyses translated quickly and reliably.
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