Australia Challenging Qatar’s LNG Crown as Exports Set to Soar

By: | at 09:00 AM

Australia is soon to match Qatar as the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas seller thanks to a spate of new projects nearing completion, according to the Asia-Pacific nation’s commodity forecaster.

Australia’s annual LNG exports will reach 74 million tons during the year to June 2019, on par with shipments from the Middle East gas powerhouse during that period, the nation’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said in a quarterly report Friday. Shipments of 52.2 million tons in the current year to June will be 41 percent higher year-on-year, it said.

The Australia boost will come from new projects, including Chevron Corp.’s Wheatstone LNG in Western Australia, currently starting up, as well as Inpex Corp.’s Ichthys LNG off Northern Territory and Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Prelude floating LNG project, both planned for 2018.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast Australia’s export capacity may overtake Qatar as soon as next year. But Australia may not be able to hold the top spot: Qatar announced plans in July to boost production next decade.

Australia’s Resources and Energy Quarterly report also forecast:

  • LNG will overtake metallurgical coal as Australia’s biggest export after iron ore in 2018-19
  • Thermal coal exports for 2018–19 will decline by 2 percent to 198 million tons due to subdued import demand from China and India
  • Thermal coal prices will dip over two-year forecasting period
    • Newcastle spot prices to decline by 16 percent to $71 a ton in 2018; drop to $69 in 2019


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