The INPEX-led Ichthys LNG Project central processing facility. Image: INPEX.
BY CAMERON DRUMMOND
ENERGYQUEST data released during July has forecast a 22 per cent growth in Australian LNG exports for the 2018 financial year, after a record annual export of 51.4 million tonnes for FY17.
The independent energy consultancy expected that volume to be outperformed in the current financial year, growing to 63mt by June 30 next year – just below forecasts from Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist.
The expected growth was due to accelerated shipments out of Chevron’s Gorgon, the commencement of LNG production out of the Wheatstone plant next month, and the start of production out of Darwin’s Ichthys project in calendar year 2018.
FY17 LNG exports were 37 per cent higher than in FY16 and had an estimated sales value of $22.3 billion, compared to $16.6bn the previous year.
The report found that Australia continued to hold its own in key North Asian markets against Qatar – the world’s largest LNG exporter – and rapidly rising exports from the US.
“Over FY17, production increased from almost every Australian LNG project and both Western Australia and Queensland boosted their State outputs to higher levels,” EnergyQuest chief executive Dr Graeme Bethune said.
“The exceptions were Darwin LNG (down 0.9Mt) and QCLNG (down 0.7Mt) compared to their previous 12 months performance,” Dr Bethune said.
“With rising Australian LNG export volumes, we are seeing the sector’s total export revenue increasing quickly, including record monthly levels towards year’s close.”
In June, the Pluto, Darwin and APLNG plants all produced at above nameplate capacity, with APLNG producing at 110 per cent of nameplate.