China boom drives LNG growth
AUSTRALIA’S liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry is riding high on increased demand from China, with total exports to the nation increasing by 40.5 per cent in 2017 to 17.5 million tonnes, Energyquest’s latest report has found. Behind Japan, China was now Australia’s second-largest LNG market, making up 30.8 per cent of Australia’s total LNG exports of 56.8mt in the 2017 year. In December alone, Australian projects delivered 31 cargoes to China, up from 21 in November. “Increased Chinese demand is not only good for Australian LNG producers and our export revenue, but has an emerging positive impact for China’s environment,” Energyquest chief executive Dr Graeme Bethune said. “China is making a massive switch from coal to gas to reduce air pollution in major cities such as Beijing – and now Australian LNG is playing a significant role in achieving this goal.” Dr Bethune said LNG exports had risen by 26.3 per cent in 2017, jumping from Australia’s fifth largest export in 2016 to its thirds largest export in 2017, overtaking gold and education. Energyquest said the high export volumes coupled with higher oil prices were estimated to have increased total 2017 LNG export revenue by 44.1 per cent to $25.8 billion. “To put $25.8 billion of export revenue in perspective, this is more than the cost of Australia’s imports of passenger vehicles, which was $21.8bn in 2016-17,” Dr Bethune said. “Passenger vehicles are Australia’s second biggest import cost.” The increase in exports was primarily attributed to higher shipments from the Gorgon and APLNG projects. However, the North West Shelf (NWS) still remains the largest producer, with Gorgon taking second place. Energyquest said there would be further increases in 2018, as QCLNG, Gorgon and Wheatstone ramp-up to full capacity and Ichthys and Prelude begin operations.
“China is making a massive switch from coal to gas to reduce air pollution in major cities such as Beijing – and now Australian LNG is playing a significant role in achieving this goal.”
Image: Energyquest. Energyquest chief executive Dr Graeme Bethune.