Australia set to top gas game
Australia is on track to become the world’s largest gas producer, with the value of gas exports to surge by nearly 60 per cent in the next two years.
Figures published in Resources and Energy Quarterly suggest the value of Australian gas will jump from $22.3 billion to $35.4 billion, as new projects come online.
The surge in gas production will come largely from Australia’s western and northern gas markets, where three large LNG projects (Wheatstone, Icthys, and Prelude) are soon to start production.
The new figures show LNG is set to overtake metallurgical coal as Australia’s second largest resource and energy export in 2018-19.
That should see Australia overtake Qatar as the world’s biggest exporter of LNG.
Qatar exports about 74 million tonnes of LNG each year.
Australia’s LNG export volumes should hit 74 million tonnes by 2018-19, up from 52.2 million tonnes this year.
The local capacity is then set to grow to 88 million tonnes when Wheatstone, Icthys and Prelude are completed.
But Qatar announced earlier this year that it would lift its moratorium on new gas development at its huge North gas field, which could see a large expansion in its production too.
While gas exporters have agreed to guarantee supply for Australia’s eastern gas market to prevent a looming shortfall next year, there should be strong growth in exports from the eastern gas market too.
“That might be price growth or volume growth, or it might be both,” the head of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, Malcolm Roberts, told reporters.
“It will depend to some extent on local demand, because local customers will be getting first dibs on uncontracted gas [next year].”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed a win after convincing, Santos, Origin and Shell to quarantine additional supply for the eastern gas market.
“They have given us a guarantee that they will offer to the domestic market the gas that was identified as the expected demand shortfall by [the Australian Energy Market Operator] in 2018,” Mr Turnbull said.
“They stated that they will provide a similar guarantee over two years, that’s their intention ... they’ve stated that they will offer first, as a first priority, domestic customers any uncontracted gas in the future as a priority.”