Blog Categories
09 May
Australia’s #LNG Industry in Transition
APPEA returns to Brisbane this year and the conference (hopefully) will bring into focus the significant challenges facing the industry and stimulate a lively discussion about the future. I think we're due for an industry reset. Here's a quick review of the global setting, domestic drivers and sector actions, to set the scene for you. 
02 Sep
Can fracking contaminate the water table?

Can fracking activities impact the water table? I thought I’d share some of the science behind oil drilling and water tables to demystify this aspect of the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas are usually (but not aways – see oil sands) found below the water table. We know this to be true...

APPEA 2015 Exhibition Hall, before opening
25 May
Seven Essential Lessons from APPEA 2015
APPEA 2015 was such a blast! Tradeshow, speeches, journalism, politics, networking, innovation. It's all there. But not everyone can make it to the biggest and best oil and gas gathering in the Southern Hemisphere. For those of you who missed it, here's the 7 essential lessons that totally framed my three days in Melbourne. 
March 2015
06 Apr
Trending LNG News from March 2015
Here's my analysis of the news from the global LNG and natural gas industries from March 2015. Happy Easter!  

LNG Projects Still Growing

While you might have thought that the LNG industry would be taking a breather from its breakneck development pace for the past 4 years, this month saw a number of project announcements that hinted at the continuing growth of the industry. 
March 2015
02 Mar
LNG News and Analysis February 2015
 Here's my analysis of the LNG and natural gas industry news from the month of February, 2015.  

More Pipeline Sales Coming

 Remember how QGC sold off their transmission pipeline for a billion more than anyone expected? Well, no surprise, but the other projects are now contemplating spinning off their pipelines too. I've written about the potential for balance sheet restructuring before, and continued low prices should have a sufficiently nasty impact on industry economics that more and different assets should come to market. There are going to be a need for some creative footwork given the complex ownership structures and tax rules, and the different risk and value trade offs that the owners make about their stake in the assets. However, never underestimate the creativity of the tax and investment banking sectors to figure out creative ways to move assets around to create value. I expect more asset sales activity.
oil price recovery
09 Feb
Where are Oil Prices Going? L-U-V-J
Where is the price of oil going? Oil markets exert such an influence on the price of LNG that oil markets are worth watching (LNG prices being a derivative of oil). Will the price of oil bounce back quickly or sometime in the distant future? How high will it go? And what will happen to LNG prices? Will they bounce back? What factors weigh most heavily on determining the shape of the price recovery? I'm no forecaster, but I do have a view about the future. Read on. 
March 2015
08 Dec
News and Analysis – November 2014
Here's my analysis of the LNG and natural gas industry news and analysis from the month of November, 2014. 

Oil Drags LNG To The Basement

Far and away the biggest story of the month was the buildup to the OPEC meeting on November 27 and the fall out afterwards. All month the Saudis were passing the word that they were going to push prices down so it was no surprise, really, if you were paying attention. It's the biggest price drop in 6 years, and with it, any gas (pipeline or LNG) that is priced with reference to oil also went down. Oil and gas stocks took a beating (70% of the value of a stock in this sector can be statistically explained by just two variables – the daily price of oil and the number of barrels of oil and gas in reserves). With cash flow crimped, the global industry will pull back and cancel or trim capital spending, defer selling anything until better times, with parallel impacts on services companies (demand contraction, idle equipment, pricing pressures). M&A activity will pick up as everyone in the sector is now revalued lower, and the best way executives can now reach their performance goals is to acquire something. The LNG sector is not immune to this phenomenon and there's lots of stories that Australia's LNG projects might get taken out. Expect to see transactions in the services sector (like this big one between Baker Hughes and Halliburton). For a few more predictions, have a look at this blog on the topic.
When the going gets tough, the best balance sheets go shopping! #LNG
March 2015
03 Nov
LNG News and Analysis – October 2014
Here’s my analysis of the most interesting news from the world of LNG and natural gas from the period October 1-31, 2014. 

Methane A Questionable Solution To Climate Woes

Several stories this month on the ongoing debate about methane as a solution to climate change. This story, in the important journal Nature, concluded that low priced gas will displace high carbon fuels (oil and coal - good), but also high priced lower carbon alternatives (solar, wind and nuclear - bad), and will also drive up demand for gas as we simply consume more of it in everything and everywhere (growth in demand - bad). On balance, therefore, gas is bad for the climate and we need some policies to alter the outcome path we're on. So the policy requirement is how to offset the two bads without upsetting the one good. One clue to the puzzle is that this is a battle between extracted fuels (gas, coal, uranium) and technology (batteries, solar, wind). Therefore, policies need to favour technology advancement over extractive industries without actually halting the shift from coal to gas. How hard can that be?
Darwin LNG Plant from end of jetty
13 Oct
Australia Gas Sector: Issues and Opportunities
From time to time, it's useful to step back and take stock of your surroundings and a sounding of the issues and opportunities facing you. I had occasion to do exactly that, with some thinking on the state of the Australian gas sector on Thursday, October 9 2014, as I was one of four panelists at a CEDA luncheon in Adelaide, Australia. The panel included Professor Paul Stevens of Chatham House and visiting professor at UCL, Barry Goldstein of the Australian Geothermal Energy Group, the Honourable Martin Ferguson, retired MP, and me. It was delightful to meet these esteemed industry colleagues, each of whom had a different take on the industry. Barry provided an uplifting review of the exploration activities in South Australia. Paul dug into a macro view of the sector with a specific focus on the impacts of the US shale gas developments on global gas markets. Finally, the Honourable Mr Ferguson provided a perspective on the labour and taxation policy issues that are confronting the Commonwealth. My task was to provide a current state appraisal of the Australian gas sector in 10 minutes or less. Here goes. 

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