Suppliers say Australia has room for more wells
The chief executive of a major mine pumping equipment supplier says Australia needs to ignore the concerns of environmentalists and other residents, and surge full-steam into coal seam gas extraction.
CEO of the Glasgow-based, FTSE-listed Weir Group, Keith Cochrane, says the United States has already plunged headlong into coal seam and shale gas extraction.
Mr Cochrane says if Australia does not take on similar gusto; it could miss out on the period of most profitability for the resource.
The Weir Group is on the verge of its own large-scale environmental incursion, after the company announced it was backing BG Group's Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas project. Weir has recently spent more than $AU1.77 billion buying up businesses which supply the US shale sector.
“The coal traditionally provided to US coal-fired plants has now found its way across the Pacific to China, to India, and that has had a knock-on impact on coal prices, which has impacted Queensland and Indonesia. We could not have predicted that five years ago," Cochrane told News Ltd reporters during a recent visit to Australia.
“So from an Australian perspective, understanding the potential consequences [of US gas exports] is, to my mind, important. There will be some impact. We can't tell it specifically. But the ramifications of North American developments are to my mind so significant that there will be impacts. We can't close our eyes to them.”
The advice from the pump supplier comes at the same time as other insiders say Queensland and Australia’s efforts to get more gas have fallen short of the mark.
A US drilling supplier allegedly warned that more drilling could be required at sites in Queensland and South Australia, because of poor well performance.
“It is an opportunity for Australia to continue to evolve and develop, and to diversify both its energy needs, its ability to be self-sufficient in energy terms, and create a further opportunity for wealth creation and jobs for the people of Australia in the year ahead,” Cochrane said.
The chiefs of companies with clear links to “unconventional” energy sources such as gas, obviously have something to gain by promoting the techniques. However, it is equally clear that many thousands of people will continue to rely on the energy industry for their livelihoods.
“It is an opportunity for Australia to continue to evolve and develop, and to diversify both its energy needs, its ability to be self-sufficient in energy terms, and create a further opportunity for wealth creation and jobs for the people of Australia in the year ahead,” Weir CEO Keith Cochrane said.