Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports hit 56.8 million tonnes (Mt) in 2017, jumping 26.3 per cent from 44.9Mt in the previous year.
Combined with higher oil prices, the increase in volumes pushed up Australia’s 2017 LNG export revenue by 44.1 per cent to $25.8 billion, according to EnergyQuest’s December LNG report.
EnergyQuest chief executive Graeme Bethune said 2017 had been a watershed year for Australia’s LNG industry, with growth in demand from China the stand-out success story.
Total Australian LNG exports to China increased by 40.5 per cent from 12.4Mt to 17.5Mt over the period.
“China is now Australia’s second-largest LNG market and Australia is China’s biggest LNG supplier,” Dr Bethune said.
“Increased Chinese demand is not only good for Australian LNG producers and our export revenue, but has an emerging positive impact for China’s environment.
“China is making a massive switch from coal to gas to reduce air pollution in major cities such as Beijing – and now Australian LNG is playing a significant role in achieving this goal.”
Bethune said LNG jumped from Australia’s fifth largest export in 2016 to third largest export in 2017, overtaking gold and education.
“To put $25.8 billion of export revenue in perspective, this is more than the cost of Australia’s imports of passenger vehicles, which was $21.8 billion in 2016-17. Passenger vehicles are Australia’s second biggest import cost,” he added.