Asian investors, LNG buyers look to N. America as Australia taps out

Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:07am EDT
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* Asian buyers look to N. America for cheaper gas supplies

* Investors cite Australian costs as a reason for move

* Canada attracts growing number of investors in LNG

* Industry execs sceptical that cheap N. America prices will hold

By Meeyoung Cho and Florence Tan

DAEGU, South Korea, Oct 17 (Reuters) - North America has pushed Australia out of the top spot for new Asian investment in gas development, with most of the supply from existing Australian projects sold off and buyers hunting for cheaper fuel, industry executives said this week.

Australia has been for the past several years the global hotspot for Asian gas investors, with $190 billion in liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments under way to take advantage of its proximity to top buyers such as Japan and South Korea.

But its seven current projects have been parcelled out to off-takers and equity stakeholders, and no new projects are expected to move forward within the next year.

That slowdown and the pull of cheap, abundant North American shale gas has turned heads towards projects just setting up for development in the United States and Canada that are aiming to fill Asia's still burgeoning LNG demand.   Continued...