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Shale Gas Mergers in Central Australia Set to Increase, CBA Says

Developers of liquefied natural gas projects in Australia’s Queensland state and power utilities are likely to acquire shale resources in the central part of the country, Commonwealth Bank of Australia said.

Mergers are set to shift from the coal-seam gas business on the east coast to the shale gas industry in Australia’s Cooper Basin following Arrow Energy Ltd.’s deal to acquire Bow Energy Ltd., Commonwealth Bank of Australia analysts, including Luke Smith in Sydney, predicted in a Dec. 7 report. Global oil companies will also be among those scrambling for shale resources in Australia, the analysts forecast.

Shale gas resource holders in Australia’s Cooper Basin include Santos Ltd., Beach Energy Ltd., Senex Energy Ltd. and Drillsearch Energy Ltd., according to the report.

“With the CSG players now largely consolidated, the next focus of consolidation is likely to be the Cooper shale resource holders,” the analysts wrote.

Australia “appears poised to commercialize its shale gas resources on a large scale,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in April. BG Group Plc, the U.K. natural gas producer, said earlier this year it would extend its shale exploration plans to Australia with partner Drillsearch, while ConocoPhillips also plans to look for shale gas in the country.

BG, Santos and ConocoPhillips are developing coal-seam gas-to-LNG projects in Queensland state, on the east coast of Australia. ConocoPhillips plans a $20 billion LNG venture on the Queensland coast with Sydney-based partner Origin Energy Ltd.

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