Russian gas exports may disrupt our LNG dream

Russian gas exports may disrupt our LNG dream
Tuesday 8 January 2019

ANU Centre for European Studies Jean Monnet Research Fellow dr Elizabeth Buchanan wrote this article for The Australian, 8 January 2019.

Below is an exerpt of the article. To read the full article, see the PDF below.

Russian gas exports may disrupt our LNG dream

By 2020, Australia is set to be the world’s largest LNG net exporter. But this will not last as long as Canberra once thought, with Russian firm Novatek set todisrupt Australia’s LNG export dreams.

Australians are lulled into a false sense of security by policymakers who consistently push the global LNG export power narrative. We all know it — the Lucky Country, rich in resources hook.

Sure, we have vast LNG reserves and are situated in the world’s future economic powerhouse: the Asia-Pacific. Basic supply-demand dynamics would have us believe that Australia is well placed to profit from the windfalls of increasing LNG demand in our regional market — demand driven primarily by China, South Korea and Japan.

Russia’s Novatek is set to challenge Australia’s LNG export strategy by outpacing exports and undercutting Australia’s high LNG prices. Now this is not a traditional tale of Russian foreign energy strategy, of Putin employing energy as a foreign policy weapon to punish unruly neighbours or hold overdependent customers hostage to exorbitant prices.

Novatek is not a state-owned and operated firm, the Kremlin does not call all the shots. State-owned firm Gazprom does hold just shy of a 10 per cent share in Novatek. Novatek is the first non-state-owned firm to be granted resource exploration licences in the offshore Russian Arctic, for a project dubbed Yamal LNG.

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