LNG projects will struggle to break even: analyst

SIX liquefied natural gas projects under construction at a cost of $200 billion will struggle to break even because of the oil price slump, the International Energy Agency has said.

Brisbane Times reports the agency also believes there is little prospect of three in the planning stage going ahead.

The agency said even if oil prices recovered and averaged $US60 a barrel for the next few years, Australia's LNG industry - one of the world's biggest - will struggle to be profitable.

Gladstone is home to three LNG plants.

"In a $US60 oil environment the Australian projects will continue, but you are probably not breaking even," the IEA's senior gas expert, Costanza Jacazio, said in an interview from Paris.

"Will anything else in Australia proceed beyond this next portion of projects? I think in this environment it is very unlikely."

The warning by the agency, the OECD's adviser on energy, highlights the danger to foreign companies of investing in Australia's high-cost economy.

Singapore-based energy forecaster Fereidun Fesharaki said the economics of the planned LNG projects in Australia were a "tragedy" due in part to over-optimistic expectations that Asian buyers would continue to pay historically high prices.

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