liquefied natural gas ship

Australia’s Battle With Qatar for LNG

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Australia exported more LNG than Qatar in November 2018 and April 2019.

Australia overtook Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time in November, data from Refinitiv Eikon.

The surge in Australian exports follows the startup of a number of export projects in the country over the past three years, most recently the Ichthys project offshore its northern coast.

The U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) says Australia is on track to consistently export more LNG than Qatar.

Australia will further cement its top position as the final new project in the pipeline, Royal Dutch Shell’s Prelude, comes online by next year, though Qatar will not stay idle, said Sanford Bernstein analyst Neil Beveridge.

“Qatar, of course, will respond and we expect a new wave of projects to be launched which will see Qatar regain its position as the leading exporter by the early 2020s,” he added.

Qatar will lose its title as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) within the next year, as Australia ramps up production on a slew of multi-billion dollar export projects.

Australia exported more LNG than Qatar in November 2018 and April 2019. But now, the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) says Australia is on track to consistently export more LNG than Qatar, as recently commissioned projects such as Wheatstone, Ichthys, and Prelude ramp up production.

Prelude, Royal Dutch Shell’s floating LNG facility in a remote field northeast of Broome in Western Australia, shipped its first LNG cargo to customers in Asia in June.

Qatar plans to boost its LNG capacity by early 2024 to 110 million tonnes a year, up from its current production of 77 million tonnes a year, by adding a fourth LNG production line.

Qatar, which also exports around 600,000 barrels per day of crude oil, said earlier this month it would leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to focus on gas.

“We are expecting this to be temporary and that Qatar will likely produce 6.5 million tonnes in December, meaning it will again be the largest exporter,” he said.

However, Australia’s hold on the top spot could be fairly short as LNG exports are being blamed for rising domestic gas prices, which has become a political issue in the country.

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