Canberra, November 16 - Neftegaz.RU. In a report on November 15, energy intelligence firm EnergyQuest said Australia is on the cusp of taking becoming the world’s biggest exporter of LNG, boosted by the expected ramp-up of the Inpex-operated Ichthys offshore gas project. This is in addition to previously launched giant gas developments Wheatstone and Gorgon.
«With the milestone visit to Darwin by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, for the official opening of the $40 billion INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG project, it is that project that is set to drive Australia to the premier LNG export position,» EnergyQuest said.
EnergyQuest monthly LNG report for October says that total Australian LNG shipments were significantly higher in October at 6.4 million tonnes (Mt) – up 10.3% on 5.8 Mt in September. The increased export shipments were boosted in part by the start of production from the Ichthys plant which saw its 1st LNG cargo depart Darwin on 22 October, followed by 2 further cargoes.
EnergyQuest CEO Graeme Bethune, said that the higher October shipments were 76 Mtpa on an annualised basis, prior to any significant production from Ichthys (annual capacity of 8.9 Mtpa) and the start-up of Shell’s Prelude project (3.6 Mtpa).
«As Ichthys ramps up production in coming months we expect Australia’s annualized production rate to overtake Qatar’s nominal capacity of 77 Mtpa, making us the world’s biggest exporter,» Bethune said.
Bethune said that after passing Japan in April this year as the world’s largest importer of natural gas (comprising both LNG and international pipeline gas), China’s LNG imports are growing quickly, with September imports up 26% on a year earlier. «Australia continues to be the largest LNG supplier to China, supplying 43% of Chinese LNG imports in September,» he said.