Perth: Australia will fail to meet its target of tripling liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 2020 due to severe labour shortage and capacity constraints, the chief of major producer Woodside Petro-leum said on Wednesday.
A commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and plans to introduce carbon emissions limits by 2010 may also undermine Australia’s competitiveness internationally in exports, chief executive Don Voelte said.
“Australia hopes to triple LNG production to 50-60 million tonnes by 2020. That is impossible. It’s not going to happen,” he said. “You may have the best intentions but it’s just very, very difficult to work in Australia because of the labour and skills shortage.”
The Australian Petro-leum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has set a target of tripling national LNG production by the next decade.
APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson said the sector faced tough challenges in meeting the target but labelled as “extraordinarily defeatist”, suggestions that they were insurmountable.
But uncertainty surrounding new LNG projects in Australia was causing concerns for buyers in growing markets in China, Japan and South Korea.
“There are 14 projects and there are probably only three or four that are going to be built, so they are thinking: who should we be negotiating with,” Voelte said.
Australia has two operating LNG projects producing about 15 million tonnes of LNG a year.