Oil major ExxonMobil is planning an LNG import project off Australia’s east coast, in the state of Victoria, with a potential startup as early as 2022, a spokesman said Monday.
ExxonMobil’s proposed project makes it the third LNG import terminal planned off Australia’s east coast, based on floating storage regasification units, as natural gas shortages in the region prompt energy companies and utilities to secure supply from global LNG markets.
The project comes alongside similar plans by Australian utility AGL Energy and consortium Australian Industrial Energy, which is partly backed by Japanese energy traders Jera and Marubeni. It is still in very early stages of planning, but could begin importing gas from 2022 onwards, the spokesman said via email.
Details on the size of the facility are not yet available and while a number of potential locations for it are being assessed, the state of Victoria has been flagged for its location, which would see it feed into the tight east coast gas network, he said.
“ExxonMobil would be able to bring world-class project experience in all facets of LNG development, production and regasification,” he said.
“Combined with the existing Gippsland resource and infrastructure, an LNG import facility could ensure ExxonMobil can continue to meet our customers’ needs,” the spokesman added.
The Gippsland Basin Joint Venture oil and gas fields, located in the Bass Strait off Victoria’s Gippsland coast, are owned equally by Esso Australia, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, and BHP Billiton Petroleum (Bass Strait).
Gas shortages on Australia’s eastern seaboard have emerged as coalseam gas reserves, which supplied domestic markets and three LNG export terminals in Queensland, have not kept pace with growing demand. Supplies have also suffered from the collapse in oil prices stymieing investment in Australian exploration and production, and various state and territory bans and moratoriums limiting gas developments.
ExxonMobil’s planned LNG import project in Victoria will compete with AGL’s planned LNG import terminal in the same state — at Crib Point near Melbourne — projected to come online by financial year 2020-2021, and AIE’s project next door in the state of New South Wales, potentially at Port Kembla, Newcastle or Port Botany, expected by as early as 2020.