Japan's nuclear woes could boost Australia's LNG projects

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 11 -- Australia’s Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said his country stands to benefit from helping Japan to maintain energy security following the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Ferguson told delegates at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association that Australia is well placed to meet Japan’s increased demand in LNG as projected by analysts and organizations such as the International Energy Agency.

"I look forward to seeing projects such as Gorgon, Pluto, and the East Coast LNG projects commencing production as well as potential final investment decisions on a number of other key projects," Ferguson said.

Meanwhile, in a welcome sign of improvement for Japan’s oil and gas industry, shares in Inpex Corp. rose in Tokyo on a surge in oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Apr. 8.

The near-term May contract for West Texas Intermediate crude briefly hit $112.86/bbl, the highest level in about 2½ years, prompting investors to buy the oil firm's stock.

The Inpex rebound follows other reports that oil, gas and mining stocks led a rally that saw the Nikkei Stock Average increase 13.5% by Apr. 8 since hitting its post-disaster low Mar. 15.

The Nikkei subindex for oil firms skyrocketed 24.1%, coming in third among the 36 sectors, while the gas industry took 7th place, climbing 19.4%.

The Nikkei business daily reported that the nuclear crisis is giving the oil industry a boost, with petroleum product demand expected to grow and their solar cell businesses enjoying a bright outlook.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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