Australia becomes world’s top gas exporter

Australia has become the world’s largest single gas exporter, ahead of Qatar.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said for the first time ever, Australia has exported more gas than Qatar, in November 2018, and it looks like it will lead them in annual exports too in 2019.

“Australia is on track for annual gas exports of 77 million tonnes a year.

“This underlines the strength of Australia’s gas industry – with earnings expected to increase more than 60 per cent from $31 billion in 2017-18 to $50 billion in 2018-19 – but also the potential value to the Australian economy from continuing to discover more gas deposits and bringing them into production,” said Canavan.

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Total resource and energy exports are expected to earn a record $264 billion in 2018–19 – generating more than half the total value of Australia’s exports, he said.

The figures are contained in the December 2018 Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ).

“The December REQ showed coal remained top of the tree for Australia’s resource commodity exports but gas has made a significant increase in value.

“Australia’s coal earnings are set to exceed $67 billion in 2018–19, making it our largest commodity export,’ said Canavan.

“At the same time, the value of iron ore exports are expected to remain high, predicted to increase from $61 billion in 2017-18 to $64 billion this year.

“However the biggest increase in export value of any commodity will be seen in gas, expected to be up $19 billion from $31 billion in 2017-18 to $50 billion in 2018-19.

While this strong growth saw Australia overtake Qatar as the world’s largest gas exporter, new investment in the next wave of gas projects is needed to stay on top, said Canavan.

“Both Qatar and the United States will have new gas production and infrastructure coming on line in future years that will challenge Australia’s lead.

“The gas being exported through Gladstone in Central Queensland, north-west WA and the NT has made a vital contribution to the nation’s prosperity, while higher export volumes to be driven by the Wheatstone, Ichthys and Prelude gas projects will help produce the higher earnings in 2018-19.

“Exports of resources and energy make a massive contribution to the Australian economy and to the prosperity of businesses, communities and families throughout the nation.”

However, Canavan warned that new investment and better development processes are needed.

“The industry’s strong results can only continue if new investment is encouraged and the development of projects proceeds efficiently,” he said.