Queensland koala mauls Russian bear

QUEENSLAND, which just a decade ago was considering piping in gas from Papua New Guinea to meet its domestic needs, has surged onto the world stage as a major player in global gas markets, improbably managed to surpass Russia in the LNG game … and not all of the Sunshine State's trains are operating yet.
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Haydn Black


Just last week Santos introduced gas into its second train at Gladstone LNG.

Independent consultancy EnergyQuest calculated that Queensland's March quarter performance - exporting 3.8 million tonnes of LNG - was more than the whole of Russia, which sent just 2.5MMt of LNG exports.

Queensland, which will host the APPEA 2016 conference next week, has gone from having no LNG production just over a year ago to helping Australia see gross production increase by around 53.2% quarter-on-quarter to 10.1MMtpa with the ramp-up of production from Australia Pacific LNG and GLNG projects in Queensland and the first cargo from the Gorgon project in Western Australia.

"Queensland's performance is extraordinary, from zero LNG exports as recently as 18 months ago to more than Russia already," EnergyQuest CEO Dr Graeme Bethune said.

"Queensland's LNG projects have all ramped-up more quickly than expected and are near or exceeding nameplate capacity. The whole process has been very well managed with little apparent market disruption."

Shell's QCLNG project shipped 31 cargoes in the first quarter comprising 2.1Mt, Santos's GLNG project shipped 16 cargoes of nearly 1MMt and the Origin Energy-Conoco Phillips-Sinopec APLNG project shipped 11 cargoes of 700,000t.

LNG output is now Australia's largest component of petroleum production.

Despite a 36% quarter-on-quarter fall in average Australian LNG export prices due to the fall in oil prices, Australian LNG export revenue for the March quarter of $4.5 billion was only down slightly from early 2015, supported by the growth of export volumes.

In compiling its March quarter review, EnergyQuest said Australian petroleum production continued to grow, increasing 26.4% quarter-on-quarter to 162.7 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Australia's domestic gas production fell marginally to 262.6 petajoules, however domestic gas production grew by 3% q-o-q in Western Australia to a record 94.7 PJ.

Total Australian natural gas and ethane production was up 33% in the quarter compared to the March 2015 period at 774.1 PJ with increases in all basins except Bonaparte, Perth and Otway.

The report found that while east coast electricity demand has finally started to rise after years of flat or negative growth, coal and renewable energy sources are meeting that demand at the expense of gas, with gas-fired generation falling 14%.

Sadly for the environment, the big winner has been coal, although hydropower has also had a big boost.

Generation from solar and wind was steady.


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