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Australian LNG exports climb

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A new report from EnergyQuest estimates that Australia exported a total of 75.1 million t of LNG in the 2018 - 2019 fiscal year (FY 2019), a total of 1111 cargoes and 21.2% higher than the 61.7 million t exported in FY 2018.

LNG is now Australia’s third largest export by value after iron ore and coal.

Australia was the world’s second largest LNG exporter in FY 2019, just behind Qatar’s nameplate capacity of 77 million tpy. Australian production in FY 2020 is likely to pass Qatar when EnergyQuest expects production to be around 80 million t, boosted by a full year of production from Ichthys and Shell’s Prelude floating LNG project which came online in June.

Most of the growth in production in FY 2019 occurred from projects in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, notably INPEX’s Ichthys project and Chevron’s Wheatstone project.

Queensland exports increased slightly, from 20.5 million t in FY 2018 to 21.8 million t in FY 2019. The Queensland LNG projects produced an estimated 43 PJ in excess of export demand.

Japan continued to be the largest buyer of Australian LNG in FY 2019, accounting for 41% of exports. However, China is now close behind, with 37% of exports. South Korea was the third largest market with 10% of exports. Japan is the biggest market for west coast exports but China is the biggest market for Queensland exports, accounting for 72% of Curtis Island shipments in FY 2019.

Australia continues to be the largest LNG supplier to Japan and China and the second-largest to South Korea.

Total Australian LNG shipments in June 2019 were 6.2 million t (90 cargoes), down from 6.4 million t (94 cargoes) in May 2019, due mostly to an unexpected maintenance shutdown at the Pluto project and a week shutdown at Gorgon in the first week of June. Shell’s Prelude project (3.6 million tpy capacity) will further increase Australian production after its first cargo was shipped in mid-June.

Australian projects delivered 32 cargoes to China in June, down on 38 in May and the same as delivered to Japan. Australia continues to be the largest LNG supplier to China, supplying 52% of Chinese LNG imports in May. China exceeded Japan in total gas imports (including pipeline) in May for the second month in a row.

Australia had been delivering 40 or more cargoes a month to Japan, but this fell to 33 in April and remained steady in May at 33. In June, 32 deliveries were made to Japan. Australia was the largest supplier to Japan in May, with a 39% market share.

Australia delivered 13 cargoes to Korea in June, more than the deliveries last northern winter. Australia remained in second place in the Korean market in May.

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