LNG prices ‘gutted’ but Gladstone exceeds production capacity

Gladstone’s three LNG projects have exceeded their combined nameplate capacity in November for the first time since they started in 2015.

Dec 17, 2020, updated Dec 17, 2020
Gladstone's LNG exports are booming. (Photo: APLNG)

Gladstone's LNG exports are booming. (Photo: APLNG)

Export volumes are booming but analyst EnergyQuest said prices “have been gutted’’.

“In March, just eight months ago, total LNG export revenue was $4.4 billion. By September it was down to $1.8 billion,’’ EnergyQuest’s latest report said.

East coast projects again shipped a record 2.126 Mt (32 cargoes) in November, eclipsing the record set in October of 2.050 Mt. The east coast projects operated at 102 per cent of nameplate capacity during November. This is the first time in the history of the east coast production they have exceeded nameplate capacity.

Significantly, China is a major investor in LNG and it is crucial to its energy supply so it is not facing the bans other commodities like coal were having to deal with.

East coast gas-use for generation was well down, by 2.07 PJ (-21 per cent) on a year earlier and 0.96 PJ lower compared with October, being replaced by solar and wind generation.

“The good news is that revenue is starting to recover with higher oil and LNG spot prices. In October export revenue was $2.2 billion and EnergyQuest expects that it may have reached $2.9 billion in November.’’

According to EnergyQuest, while Gladstone has been going at full strength, Queensland had to import gas from other states in November.

Net gas flows to Queensland from other states were 3.7 petajoules in November.

EnergyQuest said CSG production from fields operated by the LNG producers was 121.2 PJ in November, down slightly from 122.6 PJ in October and 6.2 PJ below exports including fuel gas.

“Total Australian exports for the year to November are running 1.2 million tonnes ahead of the same period last year and EnergyQuest expects that total exports for the year could reach a new record of 78 Mt, up on the 77.5 Mt exported in 2019,’’ EnergyQuest said.

“The two biggest markets for Australian LNG are Japan and China, which both took 2.6 Mt in November, higher than November 2019 in both cases. The third and fourth biggest markets were Korea and Taiwan.”

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