When leaders from 21 Pacific Rim economies converge on Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the annual APEC Summit in a few months to talk about trade and prosperity, natural gas will be a hot topic.
This small country off the north coast of Australia is an appropriate site for such a summit as it is at the center one of the world’s great energy promises. In fact, PNG and Australia, traditionally linked by trade and proximity, are in the vanguard of a clean fuel revolution.
And, while natural gas production in Australia dates back more than 50 years, PNG is only just entering the world’s energy markets as a major producer. Specifically, ExxonMobil’s PNG LNG Project, is only a few years old and the company is already considering options for expansion, a sign of the potential and confidence surrounding new opportunities.
Combined with significant production of LNG from Australia, including from the part ExxonMobil owned Gorgon project, these supplies are coming online at a good time.
Demand for energy continues to accelerate as populations grow, urbanize and become more environmentally conscious.
And, Australia and PNG are poised to benefit. They are well situated geographically to supply areas where demand growth is especially strong: China, India, South and Southeast Asia. Asia-Pacific’s middle-class will grow faster than the rest of the world and the region will account for 60 percent of global demand growth for electricity by 2040. By then, demand for natural gas will be more than twice what it was in 2010.¹
The development of gas resources in Australia has delivered enormous economic benefits to the nation, and we are seeing the same in PNG through construction, future revenue streams, employment and skills development, and gas for domestic electricity generation. At the same time these resources are improving the lives of those in many APEC economies by providing cleaner burning gas to fuel economic growth.
Prospects for clean energy and economic progress in Australia and Papua New Guinea are bright. The upcoming APEC summit takes place at a time when both states are set to play major roles in powering growth around the Pacific Rim and closer to home.
¹“Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040” ExxonMobil (2018)