ExxonMobil plans to develop a project to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) on Australia’s east coast that has been suffering from gas shortages lately.
The U.S. supermajor is planning for the project to start up as early as in 2022, a spokesman for Exxon told Platts in an email on Monday.
Exxon’s Australian unit Esso Australia Pty Ltd and a unit of BHP Billiton each hold 50 percent in the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture (GBJV) for oil and gas exploration off the Gippsland coast in the state of Victoria.
Earlier this year, ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton decided to abandon the 20-month-long sales process of their joint ageing oil and gas assets offshore Australia and said that they would keep ownership and operation of the fields and associated infrastructure.
Meanwhile, although Australia is closing in on Qatar to become the world’s largest LNG exporter, its eastern coast has been suffering from an LNG shortage as declining production from mature fields and long-term LNG export contracts have created a gas crunch in some parts of Australia.
“Combined with the existing Gippsland resource and infrastructure, an LNG import facility could ensure ExxonMobil can continue to meet our customers’ needs,” the Exxon spokesman told Platts today.
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The LNG import facility under consideration is still in the very early stages of planning and the state of Victoria is one of the locations under review, said to the spokesman, who added that details of the size of the import terminal were not available yet.
Exxon’s project will compete with plans by the consortium Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) which plans to develop an LNG import terminal at Port Kembla in the state of New South Wales in southeastern Australia. Subject to the planning approval process, AIE aims to have first gas to its customers by early 2020. Another competing project will be the Crib Point LNG Import Jetty in the state of Victoria by local utility AGL, which is set for a final investment decision during the 2019 financial year for delivery of first gas into the domestic market during the 2021 financial year.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.