This article was first published exclusively for FNArena subscribers on February 15 and is now open for general readership.
By Greg Peel
When Australia's LNG "boom" (round two) began in earnest in 2008, the simple impetus was a forecast exponentially growing demand for energy from emerging and highly populated economies. First-movers were potentially looking at vast riches. The only real issue was that it would take a lot of time, and a lot of money, to bring such LNG production dreams to reality. It was going to be a long road.
In the ensuing period, the global picture has changed somewhat. For one, we've had a GFC. If nothing else, after five years Europe is still suffering from the fallout. Forecasts for ongoing Chinese growth have tempered to an extent. An earthquake off the Japanese coast has substantially changed the outlook for nuclear energy ? a fossil fuel alternative. And the US has woken up to the fact it has been sitting on such a vast expanse of shale that recently developed technology has not only offered the prospect of long-coveted energy self-sufficiency, but also the prospect of a major new export industry.
All of the above has impacted on the outlook for Australia's own LNG export aspirations. Along the way, investor patience has been sorely tested through project delays and cost blow-outs and even a lack of readily available gas. All along many energy analysts have maintained rusted-on Buy ratings for LNG stocks on the assumption the upside potential is just too substantial. Just how long do we wait?