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Australia's $11 Billion Gas Project Is Ahead Of Schedule

Australia’s largest independent gas producer, Woodside, aims to take the final investment decision (FID) on the US$11-billion Scarborough project early next year, sooner than its previous timetable at some point in the first half of 2020, Woodside’s CFO Sherry Duhe told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Woodside proposes to develop the Scarborough gas resource and process it through a second train at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility Pluto.

“Tolling agreement negotiations are actively progressing to finalise the terms for processing Scarborough gas through Pluto Train 2,” Woodside said in its Q3 results release today.

Woodside has to agree on the price for processing the gas with its partner BHP, so that it can give the green light to the project early next year, Duhe told Reuters.

Woodside has a larger project in the works, the US$20.5-billion Browse project, but talks on the development are more complicated there because of the fact that there are many shareholders in the gas resource and the LNG plant. Woodside is now targeting FID for the project for the first half of 2021, later than a previous target FID deadline by the end of 2020. 

Despite the shifting of the timetables of the two LNG projects, Woodside believes that these new development plans are “perfectly timed” to allow it to seize the opportunity to fill in a global LNG supply gap expected after 2022, Duhe told Reuters. 

Meanwhile, already operational LNG facilities in Australia are ramping up production and exports and reach full capacity, which will result in Australia consistently exporting more LNG than Qatar within the next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says.

Australia will be the next top LNG exporter, but it will likely retain that title for just a little while, as both Qatar and the United States plan major expansions in their LNG export capacities over the next five years.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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