Views of the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) Project Site
Views of the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) Project Site

Scope for sale of Curtis Island LNG plant’s assets

INFRASTRUCTURE investors are being tempted by the potential sale of assets at Shell's Queensland Curtis ­Liquefied Natural Gas plant at Curtis Island.

Shell, which is being advised by Rothschild and Co, is considering putting a minority and non-operating stake of infrastructure at its QCLNG project up for grabs.

The sale is already attracting local infrastructure investors including Australian Super, IFM Investors, Unisuper and Macquarie.

It's believed the sale, potentially involving Shell's jetties and storage terminals at the two-train LNG plant, could be accompanied by a 20-year take or pay contract.

The Australian reported the assets are expected to be offered next year.

With low interest rates and few major acquisition opportunities, the assets could be chased by local and global investors.

It comes after the BG Group, which was purchased by Shell in 2016 in a $US53 ­billion transaction, put the QCLNG pipeline up for sale in 2014.

It was subsequently bought by APA for about $US5 billion.

The Australian Financial Review reported while it was too early to put a value on the ­assets, it could be one of the biggest auctions in the ­infrastructure sector for the next year, and could set off a trend.

Origin Energy was asked if it would follow suit at its Australia Pacific LNG plant, should Shell pull the trigger on sales, during an investor briefing last week.

Origin chief financial officer Lawrie Tremaine said a deal would be considered.

During the briefing it was also revealed the company was targeting an increase to production at its Curtis Island plant during the next three to five years.

The production guidance for APLNG for the 2020 ­financial year has been lifted by 690 to 710 petajoules, from a previous range of 680 to 700 ­petajoules.

Chief executive Frank Calibria said the company was focused on optimising cash costs and further using spare capacity.