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Shell Studies Site in Eastern Australia for LNG Plant




By Angela Macdonald-Smith

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, is studying a site in northeast Australia for a potential liquefied natural gas project, the fifth venture planning to tap reserves in the region for export to Asia.

The company has started feasibility studies for the site on Curtis Island near Gladstone and is developing a full plan for the project, Shell’s Australian unit said today in an e-mailed statement. The plant would be supplied from coal-seam gas permits jointly owned with Arrow Energy Ltd., it said.

Australia’s industry to extract natural gas from coal seams attracted more than A$17 billion ($11 billion) in investment last year as companies including BG Group Plc and ConocoPhillips tapped into local ventures. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company, in December reaffirmed its forecast for 4 percent annual growth in LNG demand through 2030 even amid a global economic slowdown.

“Shell is currently working on its initial advice statement for submission to the Queensland Department of Infrastructure & Planning” for the potential LNG project, the company said in the statement.

Shell said it signed an exclusive right to investigate the site on Curtis Island for the project. BG and a rival venture between Santos Ltd. and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. also plan LNG projects on the island on Queensland’s central coast. ConocoPhillips has a separate LNG project proposed with Origin Energy Ltd., while Brisbane-based Arrow plans a smaller plant with Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd.

Shell also said it completed a transaction to buy 30 percent of Arrow’s coal-seam gas acreage in Queensland and a 10 percent stake in Arrow’s international unit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Macdonald-Smith in Sydney at[email protected]

Last Updated: February 11, 2009 20:43 EST

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