The Port of Gladstone in Queensland exported 20.58 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2018, resulting in a new annual record.
This narrowly broke the previous Port of Gladstone record of 20.23 million tonnes set at the close of 2017.
Growth was driven largely by demand from Asian markets, particularly China, which purchased 14.25 million tonnes.
South Korea followed in second place with 3.22 million tonnes, and Japan in third with 1.6 million tonnes.
Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates were next in line.
Australia is set to move ahead of Qatar as the world’s single largest gas exporter by the end of the decade, according to the Australian Government’s latest Resources and Energy Quarterly for December 2018.
Australia is forecast to export 78 million tonnes of LNG in 2019–20, up 16 million tonnes from the 62 million tonnes recorded in 2017–18.
The report said Australia’s LNG exports were forecast to increase from $31 billion in 2017–18 to $50 billion in 2018–19.
Prices are then set to ease by 2019–20, in line with the findings of previous reports ($42.4 billion in the June 2018 quarterly).
China’s large purchase of Queensland LNG exports is on pace with national plans to increase its use of gas as part of its energy supply from the current rate of 7 per cent to between 8–10 per cent by 2020.
“LNG is likely to play a major role in servicing the rising Chinese gas demand with the country’s LNG imports forecast to reach 53 million tonnes or 73 billion cubic metres in 12 months,” Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.
“Resource exports help pay for Queenslanders’ everyday needs through royalty taxes, for the teachers that educate our children, the nurses and doctors who look after our health and the police force that keeps us safe.”