06/01/2020 - 15:54

Australia becomes world’s largest LNG exporter

06/01/2020 - 15:54

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Australia has edged out Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on an annualised basis, according to national consultancy Energy Quest.

WA is the world’s second-largest LNG producer, while Queensland ranks at sixth largest.

Australia has edged out Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on an annualised basis, according to national consultancy Energy Quest.

Australia was estimated to have exported a record 77.5 million tonnes of locally produced LNG in calendar 2019, ahead of former top LNG exporter Qatar (expected to have produced 75mt), with Western Australia dominating the country’s output at 57 per cent of the national total.

WA is the world’s second-largest LNG producer, while Queensland ranks at sixth largest.

Exports in 2019 came primarily from established LNG hubs at Karratha in WA, followed by Gladstone in central Queensland and Darwin in the Northern Territory, with total shipments up by 11.4 per cent on the previous year.

Energy Quest said total LNG export revenue was estimated at $49 billion in 2019, up from $43.3 billion in 2018 and $9.4 billion 2010.

The country’s LNG exports were more than double those of the US, another fast-growing LNG producer, with the US Energy Information Administration expecting the US to have exported 34.4mt in 2019.

Qatar’s final production figures for 2019 are yet to be confirmed, but Energy Quest chief executive Graeme Bethune said Australia’s operational capacity of 88mt per annum substantially exceeded Qatar’s current capacity of 77mtpa.

“On an annualised basis, we have previously achieved the global title in some individual months but 2019 is the first time Australia has topped global LNG export performance on a sustained annual basis,” he said.

Qatar could soon regain its status as the number one LNG exporter, however, after announcing last year plans to expand production to as much as 126mtpa by 2027, according to Qatar Petroleum.

However, Mr Bethune said there was an opportunity for Australia to lift the current production milestone even higher.

He said WA’s Shell-operated Prelude floating LNG project, for example, was expected to reach full capacity this year.

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