Global Energy Consultancy Wood Mackenzie predicted rising Asian LNG demand and the return to growth of China’s national oil companies as key factors influencing the sector, not only Asia-Pacific, but also globally into 2019.
Asian LNG demand continued to grow strongly, driven by Chinese coal-to-gas switch policies. Chinese LNG demand grew by a world record 8mt in 2017, and is set to grow by another world record 12mt in 2018. This made up 50% of global LNG demand growth. Given China is only through its five year clean air policy, this particular story is far from finished.
Additionally, LNG demand is growing throughout Asia. In total, Asia-Pacific LNG demand is set to grow a further 60% to reach 337mmtpa by 2030. By comparison the rest of the global market is only 75mmtpa currently.
After a dearth of new greenfield LNG project stations in recent years, suppliers are now positioning to grow. The FID of LNG Canada in October 2018 was the first major greenfield project to move ahead since 2015. Wood Mackenzie anticipates 2019 to be the largest year for LNG FIDs ever with projects in Russia, Qatar, Mozambique and the U.S. expected to sanction. In the medium-term, LNG producers in Southeast Asia, Australia and PNG are also expected to capture some of this growth through expansion of existing facilities.
While the number of developments being sanctioned in 2018 is similar to 2017 on a year-on-year basis, the key change is the size of fields getting the green light. The average project to hit FID in 2018 is over twice the size of those in 2017– up from around 375mn boe last year to around 850mn boe this year.
In the Asia-Pacific, there was a jump to an average of 287mn boe versus 143mn boe in 2017. Key sanctions include SK320 and SK408 in Malaysia, Reliance’s KG D6 satellite cluster in deepwater India and CNOOC’s first operated deepwater gas project in China, Lingshui. Together these projects will require nearly $8 billion of investment.
Merger and acquisition activity is also seeing a resurgence in the region, with over $6.8bn worth of upstream assets changing hands in 2018, the highest level of activity since 2014. Australia accounts for much of this uptick, with Santos’s $2.2bn acquisition of Quadrant Energy.
Wood Mackenzie concluded by stating that Petronas, Pertamina and and PetroVietnam are all likely to be on the lookout for new partnerships in 2019 to support continued investment in both old and new field developments.