Oil and gas giant Shell today said it plans to invest £20billion in Australia over the next five years, while its over-budget Arrow project has been offered a refinery deal.
The firm’s outgoing chief executive Peter Voser made the comments on the company’s investment in the continent on the sidelines of an industry conference.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Origin Energy chief executive Grant King said yesterday its liquid natural gas (LNG) plant, which was developed with ConocoPhillips, could offer the Arrow project “a great site with plenty of potential to expand.”
Shell’s own £16billion LNG joint-venture project with Petrochina’s Arrow has seen project costs rise leading to speculation that it may be more viable for Shell to sell gas to a rival operator rather than set up its own plant.
Shell has delayed a final decision on whether to push ahead with a plant which is now likely to be made at the start of 2014, rather than this year as previously planned.
Shell and Petrochina’s Arrow LNG is one of four ventures on Australia’s east coast that plans to pump gas from coal seams to export facilities.
Australia is on course to overtake Qatar as the world’s top LNG exporter by 2017, whether or not future expansion of the coal seam projects goes ahead. The east coast projects are part of a wider £112billion ($170 billion) LNG boom, with more plants being built in the west and north and supplied with conventional gas.