Australia has emerged as a strong contender to match Qatar as the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas seller as series of new projects are coming to an end, according to the Asia-Pacific nation’s commodity forecaster.
Australia’s annual LNG exports will touch 74 million tons during the year to June 2019, on par with shipments of Qatar 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 new projects will boost Australia’s cause which includes Chevron Corp’s Wheatsone LNG in Western Australia, currently starting up, as well as Inpex Corp’s Ichthys LNG off Northern Territory and Royal Shell Plc’s Prelude floating LNG project, both planned for 2018.
Australia’s export capacity may overtake Qatar as early as next year, however, it would be difficult to hold on to the top spot, as Qatar has announced to boost its production in the 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.