RECORD MONTH: LNG tanker arriving in Gladstone harbour in November.
RECORD MONTH: LNG tanker arriving in Gladstone harbour in November. Mike Richards GLA091108LNGS

Australia takes global LNG export crown for first time

AUSTRALIA has overtaken Qatar and earned the crown as the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas for the first time in November.

According to data from Refinitiv Eikon Australia loaded 6.7936 million tonnes of LNG in November, while Qatar exported 6.2025 million tonnes, Reuters reported.

The report said that Australia's LNG exports jumped by over 15 per cent from the previous month, while Qatar's exports slipped by 3 per cent.

The surge in Australian exports follows the start up of a number of projects over the past three years, most recently the Ichthys offshore project.

Contributing to the record-making month was exports from Curtis Island's three LNG plants, which shipped its largest amount of LNG for 2019.

Last month 1,923,691 tonnes of LNG left Gladstone's port, with 29 cargoes shipped to China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia.

The biggest customer of LNG leaving the Curtis Island projects QCLNG, APLNG and GLNG was China, which received 1,488,447 tonnes.

Energy analyst Dr Graeme Bethune last month anticipated Australia was on the cusp of taking out the global title for the biggest exporter of LNG.

The EnergyQuest analyst said Ichthys LNG project would be the major driver to give Australia the premier LNG export position.

"As Ichthys ramps up production in coming months we expect Australia's annualised production rate to overtake Qatar's nominal capacity of 77 Mtpa, making us the world's biggest exporter," Dr Bethune said.

Credit Suisse energy analyst Saul Kavonic told Reuters, "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".