A joint venture between Japan’s largest energy company, Inpex, and France’s Total SA (NYSE: TOT) has approved spending $34 billion to construct a liquefied natural gas project off the northwest coast of Australia. The project, called Ichthys, is expected to produce about 8.4 million metric tons of LNG annually when it is complete. An initial cost estimate in 2008 set the price of the project at $20 billion.
Australia is on track to replace Qatar as the world’s largest producer of LNG. The country currently produces about 21 million metric tons annually and the total is forecast to rise to nearly 80 million metric tons annually by 2017.
About 70% of the LNG produced at Ichthys will be sold to Japan. Five Japanese utilities have signed long-term contracts to buy 4 million metric tons of LNG annually from the Ichthys project.
Reuters has a good map of Australian LNG projects here.