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Exxon is looking into hiking LNG imports into Australia

Exxon Mobil Corp. is considering importing LNG into Australia to avert a projected gas supply shortage starting in 2021.

Although Australia is now the second-largest LNG exporter in the world and is expected to overtake Qatar by 2019, Australia's energy market operator in March said the state of Victoria could face shortages starting in 2021 due to a sharp decline in supply from the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture. Gippsland is owned by Exxon and BHP Billiton.

"Combined with the existing Gippsland resource and infrastructure, an LNG import facility could ensure ExxonMobil can continue to meet our customers' needs," Exxon said in a June 18 email.

The new facility could open by 2022, as Exxon could use its existing infrastructure at Longford in Victoria for an LNG import facility.

Australian energy retailer AGL Energy Ltd. plans to start importing LNG by 2021, while a consortium involving Japan's JERA Co. Inc. plans to begin LNG imports into Australia about 2020, according to a June 17 article from Reuters.