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New projects help gas exports boom to $17.9bn

Plenty of new projects across coastal Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia have triggered a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export boom.

Australia’s LNG exports rose 37.7 per cent to 36.8 million tonnes (Mt) throughout calendar 2016, according to independent energy consultancy EnergyQuest. It estimates the value of exports in that year totalled $17.9 billion, representing an 8.6 per cent dollar increase on the previous year.

EnergyQuest expects calendar 2017 to be even stronger year, fuelled by APLNG and Gorgon continuing to ramp-up and new LNG projects coming into production at the Wheatstone and Ichthys LNG projects. It predicts Australia’s 2017 exports will be close to 60Mt, up 63 per cent on the previous year and worth $36 billion by Christmas.

“The growth of LNG exports is a massive benefit to the Australian economy,” EnergyQuest CEO Dr Graeme Bethune says.

Australia’s newest LNG hub, the three new plants around Gladstone, not surprisingly saw Queensland LNG exports nearly triple to 17.5Mt in the past 12 months. West coast exports were down slightly at 19.3Mt for the period.

Most Australian LNG exports continued to go to established customers with long-termcontracts during the year. Japan remains the largest customer for Australian LNG, taking 48 per cent of 2016 cargoes. China is the second biggest customer, taking 30 per cent of cargoes. Korea is an emerging buyer (53 cargoes) followed by India (16).

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