Analyst predicts world’s next shale boom — and it’s not China

HOUSTON — The world’s next shale revolution likely will be in Australia, which appears to be the most attractive place for companies to pursue tight oil and gas, according to a Lux Research analysis released Tuesday.

While companies have eyed shale development in China, lured by the prospect of huge reserves and easy financing, Australia has the know-how, experience and infrastructure to be a more attractive place to drill into shale plays, the analysis says.

It also beats out Argentina, which is believed to have expansive shale reserves, but has experienced political instability despite attractive government incentives, according to the Lux report, written by research associate Daniel Choi.

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“Australia does not have the seemingly bottomless development capital of China, or the powerful government incentives of Argentina,” the Lux report said. “However, Australia more than makes up for this by having the characteristics conducive to successful commercial production, which other front-runners like Argentina, China, U.K., and Poland lack.”

“This includes existing infrastructure, low population density in key shale plays, and citizens who welcome resource extraction through its long mining legacy,” the report said.

Massive projects being constructed in Australia to produce and export natural gas to Asia make the country more attractive for shale exploration, Lux said.

Chevron is leading the development of two LNG projects in Australia, at a cost of around $81 billion. The projects will liquefy and ship natural gas to energy hungry Asian nations.

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