LNG projects face post 2020 crunch

GAZPROM and China National Petroleum Corporation further cemented their major gas alliance this week through a framework agreement with some analysts thinking it means game over for LNG projects that start after 2020.

Blair Price

Signed at the APEC summit in Beijing on Sunday, the binding framework agreement follows May’s purchase and sales agreement which will see up to 38 billion cubic metres per annum of eastern Siberian gas piped into China over 30 years.

This new agreement was over supplying western Siberian gas to China.

“The western route stipulates annual gas supply in the amount of 30 Bcm from Western Siberia to China via the Altai gas pipeline,” Gazprom said.

Some analysts are already seeing the writing on the wall for Asian market-targeting LNG projects.

“The tie-up means that only one-in-20 proposed LNG projects targeting the 2020 market will be needed, while one-in-five seeking 2025 sales will be required, according to a Macquarie Group report,”Bloomberg revealed.

Macquarie reportedly said that new Australian projects will be undercut by international competition as the Russian pipeline volumes add to supplies while “existing projects will see downward pricing pressure”

Singapore-based Tri-Zen consultant Tony Regan also pegged 2020 as doomsday for fledgling LNG projects.

“It’s not good news for projects hoping to get to a final investment decision in the next year or two,” he told the newswire.

“Those developers will need to think about the post-2020 market.”

The Russia-China pipeline project for the Eastern route, ominously called “Power of Siberia” and based on May’s agreement, is also well underway, according to Gazprom.

“Joint large-scale activities with our Chinese colleagues develop very fast,” Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said.

“We set ourselves ambitious goals and we are confident that they will be achieved.”

Russia is also keen to build a pipeline connection to Japan, but while technically feasible there are political obstacles to overcome, primarily around some disputed islands captured by Russia in World War Two.