Australia Overtakes Qatar in LNG Export
Australia overtook Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas for the first time in November, data from Refinitiv Eikon, one of the world’s largest providers of financial market data and infrastructure, serving over 40,000 institutions in over 190 countries, showed on Monday, “It may have come later and at higher cost than originally envisaged, but Australia has taken the crown,” said Saul Kavonic, energy analyst at Credit Suisse in Sydney, Reuters reported. Australia will further cement its top position as the final new project in the pipeline, Royal Dutch Shell’s Prelude, comes online by next year, though Qatar will not stay idle, said Sanford Bernstein analyst Neil Beveridge. “Qatar, of course, will respond and we expect a new wave of projects to be launched which will see Qatar regain its position as the leading exporter by the early 2020s,” he added. Qatar plans to boost its LNG capacity by early 2024 to 110 million tons a year, up from its current production of 77 million tons a year, by adding a fourth LNG production line. Qatar, which also exports around 600,000 barrels per day of crude oil, said earlier this month it would leave OPEC to focus on gas. Wood Mackenzie analyst Nicholas Browne said the drop in Qatari LNG exports in November was due to maintenance, making Australia’s time at the top limited. “We are expecting this to be temporary and that Qatar will likely produce 6.5 million tons in December, meaning it will again be the largest exporter,” he said.