Natural gas industry says Asian demand will keep driving growth

2012-10-30

The natural gas industry says its long-term engagement with Asia has been driving a lot of the growth in the Australian economy.

But it does warn there's a need for a greater working relationship between industry and government to ensure that continues.

Australia has been exporting liquefied natural gas, LNG, to Japan and now South East Asia for almost 50 years.

Vice-president of gas company Santos, James Baulderstone, says Australia's energy needs must come first, but after five decades, Asia remains our growth engine.

"Clearly Asia is a growth engine for our region of the world. It's something that Santos and the resources industries have recognised for a long time," he said.

"You need to ensure that there is sufficient supply for domestic markets as well, but there's no doubt that's what's been driving the LNG industry in Australia, be it the west coast or the east coast.

"It's the strong demand for energy from that booming middle class in Asia, and it will drive Australia's economy for many decades to come."

Mr Baulderstone says one of the most important measures to keep the Australian oil and gas industry strong is a stable regulatory environment.

"The industry is very good at determining just what the right economics are for a project, what a fair return is, what money needs to be spent, whether it's on road, whether it's on bridge or ports, those sorts of things.

"Provided that the government works closely with industry, I think that money can be found to invest in those large scale projects."

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