Global oil and gas megaprojects going ahead while Canada misses out

Spending in Australia and the Middle East expected to stand out in 2022

By Deborah Jaremko
The Pluto LNG terminal in Western Australia. Photo courtesy Woodside Petroleum

New oil and gas megaprojects around the world are getting the green light as global energy demand surges. New ones outside of Canada, that is.  

Total world spending on oil and gas production and LNG is expected to rise this year to about US$456 billion, up from US$418 billion in 2021, according to Norway-based energy research firm Rystad Energy.  

Australia and the Middle East will stand out, Rystad analysts said. 

Spending in Canada is also expected to rise compared to last year, to US$26 billion in 2022 compared to US$21 billion in 2021, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). But that investment will mainly support drilling and optimization of existing facilities rather than new major projects.  

Companies continue to spend less in Canada compared to other places around the world. This year’s investment in Canada is about 6 per cent of the global total, down from about 10 per cent in 2014, CAPP says.  

This represents a significant lost opportunity in Canada for jobs, economic activity and government revenues. According to a 2020 report by Statistics Canada, for each dollar in lost GDP in the oil and gas industry, $1.14 is lost in other industries. And for each job lost in oil and gas, six are lost in other sectors. 

Here’s a look at just five oil and gas megaprojects going ahead around the world.  

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné speaks during the launch of the Lake Albert oil project. Photo courtesy TotalEnergies

Uganda – Lake Albert oil project 

TotalEnergies, CNOOC 

US$10 billion 

France-based TotalEnergies and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are lead partners in a new major project in Uganda that will make the country an oil producer and exporter for the first time.  

The US$10 billion Lake Albert project will develop the Tilenga and Kingfisher oil fields in Uganda and involve construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline in Uganda and Tanzania.  

At 1,443 kilometres, it will be the world’s longest electrically heated oil pipeline. It will deliver crude to Tanzania’s Port of Tanga, on the west of the Indian Ocean.   

Production is expected to reach 230,000 barrels per day, with first oil exports in 2025. 

The Pluto LNG project in Western Australia. Photo courtesy Woodside Petroleum

Australia – Scarborough/Pluto 2 gas project 

Woodside Petroleum 

US$12 billion  

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum is leading a new major natural gas project integrating upstream production with LNG exports.  

The US$12-billion project in Western Australia will involve development of the Scarborough natural gas field, located about 375 kilometres offshore, and an expansion of the existing onshore Pluto LNG terminal. A new 430-kilometre connecting pipeline will also be constructed. 

The projects are expected to deliver 8 million tonnes per year of LNG supply to customers in north Asia, with first LNG cargo targeted for 2026. 

A rider in his scooter passes by an Indian Oil Crop. gas station in Kolkata, India. Getty Images photo

India – oil refining expansion 

Indian Oil Corp.  

US$13.5 billion  

State-owned Indian Oil Corp. is moving to provide more refined products as demand in the country increases.

The company unveiled a major expansion plan at its 2021 shareholder meeting, against the backdrop of Indian oil consumption expected to rise to as high as 8.4 million barrels per day in 2040 compared to 4.7 million barrels per day today. 

“To cater to that demand surge, we are aggressively rolling out new projects,” said Indian Oil Corp. chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya. 

The company will spend about US$13.5 billion to significantly increase oil refining capacity in the next four to five years, by about 450,000 barrels per day.  

A natural gas processing plant in Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy Saudi Aramco

Saudi Arabia – Jafurah Gas Field 

Saudi Aramco 

US$100 billion 

OPEC giant Saudi Aramco has started development of the massive Jafurah natural gas play, one of the largest in the Middle East.  

The company anticipates spending more than US$100 billion over the total lifecycle of the play. By 2030, production is expected to reach up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas and around 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensate, which can be used to make gasoline. 

An aerial view of Vostok Oil project work on Taymyr Peninsula, northern Siberia, in September 2021. Getty Images photo

Russia – Vostok Oil 


US$170 billion 

Work is advancing on Rosneft’s massive Vostok oil project, which the Russian state-owned company describes as the world’s largest investment in oil and gas.  

In November, Rosneft announced progress on early work to build a massive new oil terminal in the port of Bukhta Sever. More than 145,000 tons of various construction cargoes have been delivered using 15 ocean vessels, the company said. When the terminal is complete, it will have nearly 1.3 kilometres of docking and waterfront.   

The Vostok oil project is expected to deliver about 600,000 barrels per day to tankers on Russia’s Northern Sea Route by 2024. With completion of the first phase, that will increase to approximately one million barrels per day, and to two million barrels per day with completion of the second phase. The full cost is expected to be as high as $170 billion. 

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