By JAMES PATON
Origin Energy is studying new liquefied natural gas (LNG) project
s to provide its next stage
of growth as its A$24.7 billion ($22 billion) development in
Australia with ConocoPhillips is due to begin exports next
One of the key questions for the company is where do we
go with LNG? managing director Grant King said
Thursday. Weve been doing some preliminary work
about opportunities to take what weve learned in the
LNG business and look at how we might grow that in the years
Origins Australia Pacific LNG venture in Queensland
state is one of seven export developments going ahead in the
country to tap rising Asian demand for the fuel. The company
is interested in geothermal and hydro power project
s in nations such as Chile,
as well as potential LNG options, King said.
We are mindful that our capacity to invest and grow
beyond 2017, 2018 is significant, he said, adding that
its too early to comment on specific LNG opportunities.
Origin also expects to reduce debt and return money to its
shareholders through dividends after the Australian LNG
venture starts bringing in cash, King said.
The project in Queensland will deliver a step
change in the companys earnings and cash flow
from the 2016 financial year, the company said as it reported
a 5% increase in first-half underlying profit.
Arrow Energy, the gas producer owned by Royal Dutch Shell and
PetroChina, proposed building a fourth LNG export development
in Queensland to follow projects being built by Origin,
Santos and BG Group. Shell delayed its decision to go ahead
with the project
due to cost inflation in
Origin and Arrow would benefit from collaborating, Bank of
America Merrill Lynch said earlier this month.
Were happy to put to them the merits of working
together, King said. You can assume weve
done that. But its entirely in Arrows hands as to
how they take it forward.