During 2000-10, supermajor ExxonMobil Corp. will surface as the most prolific upstream gas producer in Australia, according to a recent report by Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd., Edinburgh (see chart).
The analyst's assessment covers only projected Australian domestic natural gas production and does not include total gas output including LNG production.
Included along with ExxonMobil in the analysis were Santos Ltd., BHP Petroleum Pty. Ltd., Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Origin Energy (formerly Boral Energy), Apache Corp., Chevron Corp., BP Amoco PLC, Royal Dutch/Shell, and Novus Petroleum Ltd.
Regarding ExxonMobil's forecast position, Wood Mackenzie said, "This rise is attributable to a steady increase in production from the Bass Strait in response to growing gas demand in Victoria and access to the New South Wales gas market through the Eastern Gas Pipeline, which is currently under construction."
The analysts estimates ExxonMobil output will surpass the gas production of Santos by 2003 and maintain a leading position through 2010.
The top 10 producers will face many issues over the coming decade, says Wood Mackenzie. These include: the commercialization of gas reserves, patterns of production in each region, changes in market dynamics, and alliances between upstream producers and companies farther down the value chain.
BHP-ExxonMobil's partner in the Bass Strait-also will surpass Santos to become the No. 2 gas-producing company in Australia. This will occur in 2006, says the analyst.
In 2000, Wood Mackenzie estimates that Santos will be the leading gas producer in Australia before sliding to third position by 2007. For Santos, the loss in standing will be due to declining production in Southwest Queensland and the Cooper/Eromanga basin and in East Spar field off Western Australia.
Woodside's fourth position in the survey is attributable to the firm's 50% share of domestic gas production from the North West Shelf as well as to its growing presence in the eastern gas market, the analyst says.