(EnergyAsia, May 30 2011, Monday) — Australia’s booming economy is opening up opportunities for Asian investors to buy into their energy and resources sector.

Last week, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) held events in Hong Kong (May 24) and Singapore (May 26) for investors to meet with the executives of some of Australia’s small and mid-cap companies, and to check out why they make good long-term investments.

The latest “ASX Small to Mid Cap” conference, the 12th in a global series was held Singapore after recent successes in New York, London and Hong Kong.

The ASX is planning to step up its marketing and promotion of the series by adding Toronto to the list on September 29, said Andrew Musgrave, Regional Manager (Asia) for ASX Limited.

“We’re very encouraged by the support from the broker and investment banking communities in Hong Kong and Singapore and want to further break into other Asian major cities, who want to link with the growing Australian companies,” he said.

The companies involved in the ASX event have capitalisations generally below A$1billion but they “represent an important sector of the Australian market that does not always get the international exposure it deserves”, said Mr Musgrave.

Among the companies that presented in Singapore were Bow Energy Limited, Linc Energy Limited, Bandanna Energy Limited, Range Resources Limited.

Bow Energy (BOW) is focused on the exploration and appraisal of coal seam gas (CSG) projects and oil exploration in Queensland state. The company remains focused on finding oil and CSG, and implementing projects both for the domestic markets and export markets, said CEO John De Stefani.

It has begun developing gas projects for domestic power generation and industrial use, and the export markets via the Gladstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Queensland.

To this end, said Mr De Stefani, Bow is committed to realising several core strategic initiatives this year, including growing its gas reserves, delivering commercial gas flows, partially divesting non‐performing conventional oil assets, commissioning the 30-megawatt (MW) Blackwater power project and progressing the development of key gas infrastructure.

Linc Energy Limited is focusing on underground coal gasification (UCG) for cleaner power generation, fuel production and enhanced oil recovery (EOR), and clean coal technology, said Justyn Peters, Executive General Manager (Investor Relations).

He said Linc Energy has successfully combined UCG and gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies in advancing the development of clean energy sources. Together these technologies have the potential to economically convert “stranded” coal from deep underground deposits into ultra-clean liquid fuels.

The company said its Chinchilla Demonstration Facility will enhance the country’s energy security by converting proven deep underground coal into synthesis gas or syngas. The facility’s GTL technology works to produce syncrude (which requires refinement to create diesel and other liquid fuel products) from UCG syngas.

“We are well-positioned to take these proven technologies to UCG-suitable locations around Australia and the world. It is actively exploring for oil, gas and coal in Alaska, South Australia and Queensland,” said Mr Peters, who has more than 25 years of experience in environmental management.

Bandanna Energy Limited said it holds 16 permits for coal exploration (EPCs) in the Bowen and Galilee basins in Queensland where more than 1,400 million tonnes of deposits have been verified according to Australia’s JORC standards.

The company also has mineral exploration licences, primarily for oil shale in Queensland, said Managing Director Ray Shaw.

Formerly known as Enterprise Energy Limited, it completed the acquisition of the issued share capital of Bandanna Coal Pty Ltd in early October 2008. It has since grown to hold the largest thermal coal inventory for an Australian exploration company.

Dr Shaw said: “The recent allocation of four million tonnes a year in Stage 1 of the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal  development will see Bandanna able to ship first coal from February 2014. This is a major milestone for the company as it moves from an explorer to a coal producer.”

Demand for Australia’s coal assets is growing as Asia is expanding its power-generating and steel-production capacities.
Range Resources Limited has described the next six to eight months represents as “a very exciting period” as it expects to participate in up to four high-impact exploration wells in Georgia and Puntland, said Executive Director Peter Landau.

The exploration and production company is working on finding and delineating hydrocarbons in Puntland in Somalia, Georgia, Texas in the US and Trinidad.

With the planned onshore exploration drilling programmes in Puntland and Georgia coupled with exploration and development work in Texas and Trinidad, Mr Landau said Range is well on its way to “establish itself as a diversified international oil and gas exploration, development and production company with significant upside potential”.

Investor interest in Australia, in particular for small and medium-sized resources companies, is growing, said Ankit Murarka, a senior investment analyst of Opvs Group.

“Spurred by its healthy political and economic position, Australia has become an attractive investment destination for global investors as well as home to many major multinational financial services providers,” he said.

The ASX Group is the brand name for ASX Limited. It was created by the merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange in July 2006 and is today one of the world’s top 10 listed exchange groups measured by market capitalisation.