Record month for LNG as Gorgon, North West Shelf increase output

Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments for the month of July reached a record 5.4 million tonnes (Mt), driven by higher output from Gorgon and the North-West Shelf (NWS).

The July figure is an increase from June’s 4.9Mt output, according to Energy Quest’s latest Australian LNG monthly report.

West coast projects shipped 3.7Mt in July, up from 3.2Mt in June, while Queensland projects shipped 1.7Mt, the same amount as in June.

The NWS, Australia’s largest LNG project, shipped 1.5Mt, with Gorgon production right on its heels at 1.4Mt.

On average, west coast projects operated at 108 per cent of nameplate capacity on an annualised basis and Queensland projects operated at 81 per cent, notwithstanding Australia Pacific LNG averaging 110 per cent.

The volume of LNG deliveries from Australia was higher in July (at 5.1 Mt) compared to 4.8Mt in July.

Gas production from the upstream LNG gas processing plants also increased in July, reaching an average 3,631 TJ/d, up from 3,570 TJ/d in June. This higher production reflected higher domestic demand.

There was also a rapid growth in exports to South Korea in July, a nearly 300 per cent increase from July last year, with cargoes from Gladstone LNG and Gorgon. Exports to China and Japan also increased; 59 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

On the east coast, short term domestic gas prices continued to ease, with falls of around $1 per gigajoule (GJ). Brisbane prices continue to be lower than those further south, averaging $6.79/GJ compared to $9.76/GJ in Sydney, $8.92/GJ in Adelaide and $8.97/GJ in Victoria. This is reflected by transport costs.

Queensland gas imports from other states have also slowed down. Net easterly flows along the South-West Queensland Pipeline peaked at 335 terajoules per day (TJ/d) in early January but gas has flowed westward since June at an increased rate averaging 85 TJ/d in July.