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Industry confidence returning: EnergyQuest

There is a confident new mood among the industry and its investors according to independent energy consultancy EnergyQuest.

LNG production in Q3 2017 increased by 20.5 per cent quarter on quarter (qoq) to a record 14.6 MMt.

EnergyQuest estimates LNG export revenue for 2017 will be around $25.5 billion, up 42.5 per cent from 2016.

Domestic gas production also set records, despite the reality of tight supply on the east coast, where domestic gas production was the highest in three years.

Western Australia production for the domestic market increased by 6.0 per cent qoq to a record 101.2 PJ.

The east coast gas market is tight but production is catching up with demand, with gas flowing south from Queensland in Q3 2017 for the first time since all six LNG trains were commissioned on Curtis Island.

Growth in east coast gas production outpaced the growth in LNG exports in Q2 and Q3 2017 by around 15 PJ in each quarter.

Use of gas for power generation increased by 39 per cent, increasing in all National Electricity Market (NEM) states except Queensland.

With plenty of wind and more gas-fired generation, South Australia was a net exporter of electricity to Victoria.

The announcement of sale of a majority of Arrow Energy’s Surat Basin gas reserves to QCLNG is positive for east coast gas supply.

East coast contract gas prices continued to rise in Q3, with the new Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) index of wholesale gas prices received by producers showing an increase of 44.2 per cent qoq for eastern states but a fall in Western Australian prices of 8.3 per cent qoq.

Santos convinced analysts of its turnaround story and outlined comprehensive plans for a return to growth in the medium to long term, so convincing that it attracted a take-over bid from US-based Harbour Energy.

Judging by the jump in its share price, analysts also liked what they heard at the Origin investor day, particularly plans to strip $500m of costs out of APLNG.

Exploration activity is picking up strongly, which is a clear leading indicator of the industry’s health.

Investor sentiment has swung behind the petroleum sector, reflected in a surge in capital raisings and IPOs.

The long-running decline in oil production passed a historic milestone in Q3 2017 when output slipped below condensate production.

Shell was the largest petroleum producer on both an annual and quarterly basis in Q3 2017, accounting for one in every six barrels of oil equivalent of national production (up from only one in every 18 boe in Q3 2015).

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