This week, Australia's Beach Energy signed an MOU with Japanese commodities brokers Itochu to examine the possibility of building an LNG plant fed by shale gas from Beach's tenements in the Cooper Basin.

The deal is still early-stage. Beach has yet to even prove a resource on the project, let alone demonstrate economic viability.

But shale LNG makes a lot of sense.

Shale gas plays are scalable. You can drill a large number of wells, which will have