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Australia: BG Still Targets Mid-2012 to Sanction Third QCLNG Train

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Queensland’s recent heavy rains and floods could delay the expansion of BG Group’s $18 billion Queensland Curtis LNG plant at Gladstone because the British gas giant has been unable to shore up gas reserves as quickly as it had hoped.

Speaking to investors in London on Tuesday night, chief executive Frank Chapman said BG was still targeting a mid-2012 sanction of a third LNG production train at Gladstone.

But to do so, BG needed to drill its coal-seam gas ground to increase the level of confidence it had in the 21 trillion cubic feet of what it called gross gas resources and turn them into reserves.

The name of the game at the moment is the maturation of that reserves and resources base within that period,” Mr Chapman said.

That has suffered some impact because of the flooding and the impact that’s had on access to drilling sites, but we’re still focused on moving some of that prospective resource into a more, higher confidence level to underpin a third train.”

Despite the rains, BG was still on track for first LNG exports from Gladstone in 2014, he said.

BG was the first of three big CSG-to-LNG proponents planning exports out of Gladstone from 2014.

Of the other two, the Santos-led Gladstone LNG project has begun construction, while the Origin Energy-ConocoPhillip joint venture is still waiting for board approval of its project.

Mr Chapman joined the chorus of voices touting stronger LNG demand because of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster.

He said the flow-on effect was likely to be long-term. “After (the) Three Mile Island (1979 nuclear accident) in the US, we saw lead times for nuclear projects going out to something like 12 or 13 years, and associated with that will be increased costs associated with more stringent regulatory safety requirements,” he said.

All of this, I think will result in medium to long-term higher gas demand for power, and as a consequence, extra demand for LNG, and this is going to cause a further tightening of a market situation which we already regarded as quite tight.”

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